Eric Traver not only holds down a 4.7 grade point average as a student in the prestigious International Baccalaureate program at Riverview High School, but he also is leading the Rams’ boys’ basketball team in every statistical category. The team is atop the rankings in its division in Sarasota and Manatee counties.
A senior, Traver hopes to play basketball in college and major in engineering. or medicine.
How long have you been playing basketball?
I started playing in B.J. Ivey’s rec league, Suncoast Youth Basketball League, when I was 5. (Ivey is the boys’ basketball coach at Riverview.) I’ve been all basketball since then.
At what are you best?
Well, my coach says I am leading in every statistical category right now, but I really like to set people up and get assists as much as possible. But, whenever I can score, I like to do that, too.
What are you trying to improve?
Making decisions on the court during the game and picking my teammates up during the game and not cutting them down. I want to be that positive leader.
You are a captain this year. Has that had an effect on your play?
I think all the seniors this year have really taken a leadership role, on the court and off. All five of us are taking responsibility for the younger people.
What is your favorite aspect of the game?
I like playing defense, because when you can stop someone, it gives you a great feeling, because there is nothing they can do about it and you basically control them.
Did you grow up admiring a particular player?
I know he was really before my time, but (when I was) growing up, Magic Johnson was one of the players I liked to watch. I liked to watch his old games on ESPN Classic, because he gets everyone involved and is an all-around player.
What was it like to be named MVP in two different tournaments?
The first one, the Brighthouse Holiday Tournament, wasn’t the best feeling, because we ended on a loss, but the other one, the Siesta Key University Holiday Tournament, was a big win for us, because the Carol City team had a very good player. To get that championship under our belt for the first time and get the MVP (award) felt like a really good accomplishment.
You have districts coming up. Are you confident the Rams will do well?
We are No. 1 right now, so that’s always a good thing, and we have home-court (advantage). We hope to get the district title again and go from there. We are definitely looking to go further than we did last year, and that includes making it to the Final Four. That would be the ultimate goal.
What trait or feature do you have which people might find unusual?
People always comment on how abnormally long my arms are. (My arms) have definitely helped me get a lot of deflections, blocks and rebounds and basically everything on the court.
What will you miss most when the season comes to an end?
It will probably be the team bonding we have shared over the last four years. I’ve been playing with some of (the team members) since I was 5 and a lot of them since I was in the sixth grade.