By Matt Anderson
Photos by Dave Argyle (DBA Photography)
As the high school basketball season is in full swing, the Bingham Miners have proven to be one of the state’s elite team. A huge part of that success has come from 6-foot-7, 225-pound power forward/center, Yoeli Childs.
According to ESPN.com, Childs’ player rank for the state of Utah currently sits at No. 2 for his class, while MaxPreps.com has him listed in the top spot. There is one overwhelming factor to consider in evaluating Childs’ success in his high school career – he is just a junior.
“He just wants to keep improving,” said Bingham head coach Jake Schroeder. “A lot of times, you have bigs, they’re just big and content taking up space. He’s trying to expand his game. He’s a load. The fact that he’s only a junior, he could be very special.”
This season, Childs averages about 17 points and 11 rebounds per game. He leads the team in both categories and most nights he is an automatic double-double. His success hasn’t come just from size or natural talent.
“It’s all about spending the extra 30 minutes to an hour after practice,” Childs said. “In the morning when other people don’t want to work out, (I) work out.”
Childs is known for his bruising low post game. Most teams key in on him as the center of the offense, and quickly double him when he gets the ball down low. This opens up the three-point game for his teammates, who have been consistent so far in the season.
When Childs made the team as a freshman, he mainly played for the sophomore team. His development since then has come in leaps and bounds, and that is obvious not just to his coaches and teammates, but Childs himself.
“I’ve gotten in a lot better shape,” Childs said. “My perimeter game has gotten a lot better, and I can guard guards now. I have somewhat of a jump shot now.”
Childs’ outside game is nothing opposing coaches should be smiling about. He has knocked down the occasional 3-pointer this season, including two big makes in the first meeting against Alta, which Bingham won 54-48. The threes have come on as the season has progressed, just another weapon for opposing teams to worry about.
Schroeder has seen Childs develop as a player since he took over the team last year. Childs was a front-line player on the varsity team as a sophomore.
“His skill development has come a long, long way,” Schroeder said. “He had the tools from the start to be really good, and he’s put in the work to be extremely skilled. Him being skilled has helped us immensely.”
While others seem to focus on those things to excess, as the team enters the end of the season and playoffs, the last thing Childs wants to think about is college basketball and recruiting.
“Especially right now, I’m not too focused on recruiting and summer ball,” Childs said. “I’m just focused on this high school season and finishing out strong.”
When that time does come, in a year, Childs mentioned he’d like to play somewhere where he could get a good education and has a playing system he would fit into. But being only a junior, he still has plenty of time to study his options, and from what his coach has seen, his game is sure to take another big leap forward.
“His work ethic is incredible,” Schroeder said. “I was watching film on him last year, and compared to this year, he’s worked in the weight room. He’s a lot more athletic than people think. He runs well and gets off the floor extremely quick. He’s feisty and he’s a little nasty at times.”
Just nasty enough to make life miserable for any player who draws the assignment to guard him on game day.