Former basketball boys flock to VYI

There has been an influx of former Marshall boys basketball players into Vienna Youth Incorporated’s high school boys basketball league.

At least ten boys who had stopped playing for the Marshall team are now playing with each other again in the local house league.

The high quality of the league has players happy to return to their pre-high school league junior Jeff Townsend said. “I’m really loving my return.”

Players agree that the quality of play in VYI is what they are looking for in a league.

“Some of the games are actually a lot more competitive than I expected when I came into VYI,” senior Johnny Nguyen said. “[The league] is filled with players who could easily be playing varsity.”

“I see teams at VYI that could run with many JV and freshmen teams at FCPS schools, having played for two years myself,” junior Paolo Santamaria said. “The talent is exceptional.”

Junior Alex Robinette says that the quality of the games is “very diverse. One week you can win by 20, the next week you can lose by 20.”

The league is especially good for former Marshall players because it allows the athletes to focus on their grades and to participate in other extracurricular activities.

“Since there is only one practice and one game a week, it’s much easier to keep grades high,” Townsend said.

“The whole atmosphere is very laid back,” Robinette said.

Having basketball “only two days a week … makes it easy to balance” playing a sport with school work, he said.

Robinette’s team, VYI Orange, has a particularly high number of former Marshall athletes. He plays with three teammates from last year’s JV boys basketball team.

“It is fun to be able to play with them again,” he said.

Junior Ben Bowie also plays for VYI Orange and played on Marshall’s JV team last year with Robinette and other juniors playing VYI.

“We all played on JV together which I thought gave us a certain rhythm,” Bowie said. “We know how each of us plays.”