The Catholic Central boys basketball team has had a hot start to the 2016-17 season. With a record of 12-2 and the program’s first state AP State ranking in some time, the Cougars continue to gel and build confidence as they are two games into the second round of conference play and narrowing in on the state playoffs a month from now.
Much of this success, according to Coach Meerman, has been a result of the seniors in the program. Seniors Mike Brown, James Pelkey, Jack Smith, Aaron Duemler, and Ben Line-Neumann have brought a lead-by-example mentality into the season and that mindset has had a positive effect on the program.
“Our seniors have been great. They come to practice every day focused and ready to work, and that attitude is contagious,” Coach Meerman said.
Mike Brown, a captain who is averaging 9 points and 2 steals per game, has been effective on both ends of the floor for the Cougars this year. “Mike has the athletic ability and defensive toughness to shut down the other team’s best scorer, and he has done that on numerous occasions this year. Miami is getting a great football player and a great kid in Michael Brown,” commented Coach Meerman.
James Pelkey’s energy and work ethic have earned him the honor of being selected as one of the team captains this year. He is averaging 6 points and 4 rebounds per game. Coach Meerman describes this drive and leadership, “James brings energy and an attacking threat off the bench this season. He has helped our team with his hustle, transitional play, and keeping plays alive on the offensive glass. His work-ethic on the court carries over into the classroom, and because of this he was recently accepted into the University of Michigan.”
Jack Smith, another senior captain, has also been a leader on and off the court this year for the Cougars. “Our staff thinks he is one of the nicest players we’ve ever coached. That’s saying something because our staff has been around a lot of players throughout the years. Jack is coming off the bench playing behind multiple forwards with DI and DII offers, and colleges such as GRCC have still taken interest in Jack as a player after seeing him play in games and in practice.”
Aaron Duemler and Ben Line-Neumann are two seniors who have made a lasting impact on the program as well and can be seen at every game on the bench and at the Cougar Ball Radio (CBR) table. Aaron Duemler, a four-year varsity student assistant, has been a huge asset to the basketball program in his time at CC. Ben Line-Neumann, in his first year broadcasting games online, has been the student-founder of Cougar Ball Radio, a student broadcasting network focusing on Cougar Athletics. Coach Meerman commented on their importance to the program, “Aaron and Ben have been a huge part of the team and of our program. Aaron is the best student assistant in the state, hands down. In regards to Ben and the newly developed CBR, my family in Detroit listens to every game live on his broadcast.”
The Cougars continue conference play on Friday night at home versus Comstock Park. The boys play at 6 pm and the girls play after at 7:30 pm.