A New Lineup: Latin’s Returning Basketball Player Numbers Plummet


The Latin boys basketball team playing Parker at the Sullivan Athletic Center in 2019.

Latin’s girls and boys basketball teams have shifted this year, with significant numbers of previous players electing not to return. Last season, there were 16 junior boys on JV and varsity combined, and this year only three of them returned. Six girls players have quit since the 2019-2020 season, and four of them had been on varsity since their freshman year. Basketball has always been a beloved sport at Latin, particularly given the excitement of the annual Latin vs. Parker games at DePaul and the spirit that Latin basketball brings to the entire school. So why aren’t players returning?

Sophomore and former varsity girls basketball player Katie Hallinan said, “I think a lot of people quit basketball because of the demanding time commitment. With the way the schedule is laid out, it interrupts a lot of family plans and wouldn’t allow for people to go on a winter vacation.”

Patrick Shrake, a junior and former boys basketball team member, agreed that the main reason players are quitting is the level of dedication required. “I think that some players realized that adding on that time commitment would be detrimental to their school work,” Patrick said.

Senior and current varsity boys basketball member Ryan Kramer said, “Speaking for the seniors, it’s a big time commitment, and seniors have a lot of college stuff going on.” While the commitment expectations of the team have remained generally consistent over the past years, players like Ryan have found it increasingly difficult to balance academics with both school sports and travel teams.

Several multi-sport athletes made the decision to prioritize out-of-school athletics this year and quit basketball altogether. Junior and former varsity boys basketball player Cameron Woan said, “I chose not to play because I am prioritizing soccer over basketball. I am hoping to play next season, but it is difficult to manage the schedules for both basketball and travel soccer.”

Similarly, Katie said, “I decided to focus on softball, and with the time commitment of basketball, it would have been too much with travel softball.”

While the required dedication and restrictions on breaks certainly seem to be the biggest reasons for a diminishing roster this year, the team environment is an additional factor that seems also to have influenced some players not to return.

Speaking for the girls team, senior and current varsity girls basketball player Ally Ryan said, “The environment used to be pretty toxic, and my freshman year there were many games where girls would leave crying. At some points, it didn’t feel like a true team, and I think that was a huge factor for why people quit.” Ally later added, “The extreme competitiveness and commitment that is enforced also can create a tense environment among many team members. Over last few years, I’m glad to have seen the dynamic strengthen and function more as a team instead of individuals. I owe a lot of my opportunities to this team and I’m excited for its future.”

Sharing some of Ally’s sentiments, Katie said, “I believe there was some toxicity on the basketball team last year, and it’s not a good environment for anyone, but being a freshman last year, it was definitely intimidating. I think with the challenging environment, people improve their basketball skills, but it takes a toll mentally.”


A note from the editors: changes were made to the original article to amend one student quote.