Duncan Whitlock is one of eight seniors returning for Topeka High and he believes their experience will give them an edge.
“We have lots of development and growth and experience on the team this year,” Whitlock said. “I feel like it will benefit us in a positive way against teams that don’t have a lot of experience.”
The Trojans went 13-9 last year and Whitlock is hoping for a better season this year.
“To win games and the ultimate goal is to win state, but we would like to win the league and surprise a lot of teams this year,” Whitlock said.
Whitlock, a 6-foot-2 guard who is currently ranked 10th in the class of 2015 by TopekaHoops, averaged 6.6 points, 2.8 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.0 steals in 22 games last season for the balanced Trojans.
He’s also a very good defender and takes pride in that part of his game.
“I focus on one thing just as I do the other, offense is just as an important as defense—I feel like defense is more important than offense though because you can get steals and that can transition to offense and make layups,” Whitlock said.
Whitlock enjoys the challenge of going up against top-scoring guards in hopes of slowing them do.
“Indeed I do,” he said.
In the offseason, Whitlock says he’s improved on both ends of the floor.
“Seeing plays develop on the defensive side and anticipating plays better,” Whitlock said, “and my mid-range jumper has gotten a whole lot better.”
In addition to have plenty of experience, the Trojans also have a number of talented guards including seniors Josh Barber, Tyrece Parker, Elijah Keith, and Jordaan Ramirez-Jennings and juniors Harold Emanuel, Jarin Downing, Mario King, and Machias Jackson.
“It’s very competitive every day in practice,” Whitlock said. “We go at each other and make each other better every day.”
Emanuel is currently the fourth-ranked junior prospect in Topeka and will be looking for a breakout season this year.
“He’s good around the basket and he works hard. He’s improved a lot over the summer.”
Barber returns as the team’s top returning scorer and has been praised for the improvements he’s made in the offseason.
“Josh is on top of his game and is taking care of business,” Whitlock said.
Topeka High begins its season on Dec. 11 in the CNB Tournament at Leavenworth.
“I’m excited, I can’t wait to start,” Whitlock said.