Hazim Working to Take a Lead Role for Vikings

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Josiah Hazim is coming off a solid junior season with Seaman and has been putting in work in hopes of having a breakout senior year.

Hazim (6-1, 175) started all 22 games for the Vikings, who finished 11-11, averaging 8.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, and 1.4 assists while shooting 44.6 percent from the field.

“At first you always think you could have done more, but I think last year was a good year to see what I need to do better and what it takes,” Hazim said.

With the graduation of Central Missouri signee Joe Miller (17.0 ppg) and fellow senior starters Reid Morgart (10.0) and Reid Fehr (7.0) Hazim will be counted on to help lead the Vikings in the 2015-16 season.

“I’ve been working on my dribbling, ballhandling, and shooting a lot more,” Hazim said. “I’m running point now and planning on playing point next year kind of being an attack guard like how Shawnee Heights’ ran their offense. We’ll see how our offense is next year, but I think our offense is going to be more of a guard front because we won’t have many big guys. We’re definitely going to have some changes next year.”

Hazim, who has been participating in the Darting Basketball Academy, plans on attending a camp and taking an unofficial visit to Colorado State this summer. He also will be camping at Division II Arkansas Tech on July 30 and NAIA Graceland (Iowa) on July 10.

“I enjoy going to camps probably more than tournaments,” Hazim said. “I like going to tournaments, but I think I’m more to the point now that I’ve been playing so many games that I like getting my individual work in. I feel I have improved more this summer than any other summer just because the other summers I don’t think I worked hard enough on my own and I think based playing just on going to tournaments and sometimes in tournaments everyone is just doing their own thing and that doesn’t really make you a better player. I have been working on individual stuff lately and just since the end of school I’ve improved tremendously and lifting weights and getting stronger too.”

He also has been staying busy playing for the Kansas All-Stars, who will be playing in the Great American Shootout in Duncanville, Texas on July 16-19 and Sunflower Showcase in Lawrence on July 23-26.

Earlier this month Hazim averaged over 20 points a game for the Vikings at the KAMO Shootout.

“Coach has a lot of faith in me,” Hazim said. “We were running basically everything through me and I’m feeling way better attacking the basket. I was able to get to the basket whenever I wanted. I see my offensive and defensive game getting a lot better.”

The Vikings will also look towards rising juniors Tanyon Schafer and Ethan Sparks to fill key roles in addition to rising senior Ryan Zeferjahn, a highly-regarded baseball prospect who has verbally committed to Kansas.

“I plan on leading the team,” Hazim said. “We’ll see what we have when we get (to the season), but I just plan on having a good season next year. A lot of people have counted us out, but most teams (in the city) will be starting over. We definitely have pieces that if we have everybody we can stick with most of the teams in the city.”

Miller provided steady leadership for the Vikings last season and Hazim plans on taking what he learned from him and applying it to this year.

“Joe was a perfect role model,” Hazim said. “He works hard and is a good player. Getting to play with him I see what I can do better from what he did, but also what I need to maintain from what he did. I just think basically it’s a mind game I have to keep my head on straight. I really appreciate having Joe on my team because he taught me a lot and showed me a lot about high school basketball.”

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Owner of TopekaHoops who has over 10 years of experience as a sports journalist covering high school, college, and professional basketball and other sports. E-mail me at: topekahoops@gmail.com

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