A Look Ahead at West Boys Varsity Basketball

Treyvon Guidry, Reporter

Many factors can be responsible for success of a team. Here at West Anchorage High School, Josh Muehlenkamp has been working hard to ensure success for the boys’ varsity basketball team.

While Muehlenkamp is a familiar face because has been coaching in the Nest for a time, this is his first year teaching Physical Education at West.

He was born in Fairbanks, but moved to Kent, Washington in seventh grade. After graduating high school, he committed to the military for a two-year contract and afterwards went back to his home state of Alaska to play college basketball. University of Alaska Fairbanks didn’t know that they would produce a good coach, and also a teacher. Muehlenkamp has now been teaching for 12 years in the Anchorage School District. He was teaching at an elementary school for 11 years prior to joining West.

Muehlenkamp speaks to the difference between coaching and teaching. “Coaching usually has [kids] that want to be there; teaching sometimes has kids that don’t want to be there, and you could reach people deeper with coaching than teaching.”

Coaching varsity basketball is fun to him because he loves the competition that comes from other talented ASD teams. His goals for his team are to win state of course, but also he wants to start out every year just trying to get the best team possible and get their chemistry going for the whole year.

He wants all his players, whether they’ve been at West or just transferred in, to become better basketball players and learn how to sacrifice and how to get everyone around them to improve. He wants West to know that he’s glad to be here and wants to help people reach their potential and make them better people overall.

Jamari Lawrence is a junior at West who has been playing basketball for his entire life. Some even joke that he was born with a basketball in his hand. He swung up to varsity in his sophomore year, which is very impressive.  He stands at a height of 5’11” and can already dunk it. When asked about having a breakout Lawrence has said, “I’m going to average 25 points per game, quote that.”

As time goes by he feels more confident in his team. This is due in part to the extra training he and his teammates put in, like pre-season workouts with their coaches and trainers, such as coach Muehlenkamp, coach Perkins and trainer Harris.

Another basketball player is Traivar Jackson, sophomore at West. At a height of 6’4”, Jackson feels like he will have a very big season. Last year he felt a little shaky, and his desire for success did not match his performance. But he thinks this is the year that he will make big waves on the team, especially since By the way he swung up to varsity basketball while a freshman.

After all of this process, all of the players and coaches has said that they all want to make state and win, they believe they can do it.