MV Fashion Club is known for its elaborate fashion shows, in which each designer creates their own unique look. Their hard work is then modeled on the runway at the end of the semester.
At the beginning of this semester, Fashion Club started off with a planning session, where they looked through magazines for inspiration and made mood boards with pictures from them to decide what their pieces would be for the upcoming fashion show. Hover over the images to see the inspiration behind their designs.
This story appeared in the Feb. 2017 issue of El Estoque under the title “Mismatched”.
Whenever the MVHS boys basketball team meets its opponents at half court on game night, they look mismatched. Almost without exception, their opponents tower over them. But despite these potential disadvantage, the Matadors continue to compete against these larger teams.
The team is one of the shortest in the league, with an average height of five feet eight and a half inches. The Matadors’ tallest player stands at six feet two inches, which is nothing to scoff at, but still remains one of the shorter centers in the league.
Junior guard Zachary Whong, a two-year varsity veteran who is five feet nine inches tall, has realized he can’t rely on his size when playing.
“Being big is a big part of the game — size plays a major factor in the game of basketball,” Whong said. “So when you’re small, you have to use your speed, you have to play smarter, you have to make reads better.î
Part of playing smarter comes from the direction of the bench, where head coach Jim Forthoffer guides his players through the game, holding his classic placards with labeled plays and defenses. Forthoffer, who formerly coached at Mountain View HS, experienced a significant transition when he switched schools, as Mountain View HS had a more traditional basketball program, where the team’s average height was around six feet.
With this new team, Forthoffer has brought about a different style of play that relies less on height. Offensively, this style consists of an effort to move the ball by repeatedly screening and cutting to get an open shot. This way, players don’t need to worry about directly facing someone who’s much larger than them.
“If I can fake one way and beat you to the basket, [it] doesnít matter how tall you are,” Forthoffer said.
Although the team is shorter than the average high school team, Forthoffer says theplayers are more flexible than most common teams, making it more feasible to learn plays.
This mindset also makes it easier to overcome old habits and to start boxing out defensively, which he says was something the team needed to do.
Height especially plays a role on the defensive side. Initially a taller team can easily get over the shorter players and go to the basket. But Forthoffer says that his players need to get used to immediately boxing out after a shot has been taken, as that denies the larger opponents from reaching over for the rebound.
During practice, the taller players tend to give in to the instinct to reach, but this habit shouldn’t carry over to the game where MVHSí tallest players are only seen as average compared to other high school basketball teams like Mountain View HS.
Another defensive strategy is double-teaming larger guards. Double-teaming consists of two players who are generally shorter both guarding a single person with the ball in attempt to get a turnover. However, the team must maintain a rotation to consistently defend the person with the ball. MVHS’ speed allows them to rotate easily and still be able to guard a big player.
“We have skilled players who are fast, can shoot pretty well, can pass, spread offensive court,” Forthoffer said.
Foothill College head men’s basketball coach Matt Stanley has similar experience playing with shorter teams. In his time serving as an assistant coach at Foothill College since 2006, he admits that around the Bay Area, there tend to be fewer taller basketball players.
“We’ve always been traditionally short, not by choice,” Stanley said. “But I would like someone really tall.”
Despite their seemingly shorter size, the Foothill team has been the only program in Northern California to make it to the playoffs for the past seven years. Stanley explains that they’ve achieved this by leaving the taller post players alone and focusing more on movement around the perimeter (the three-point line), similar to MVHS’ five-man rotation.
“You might be able to dribble past them to the basket and be able to force the other team’s hands by taking those good guys out, being quicker,” Stanley said.
It’ll often be a mismatched game for the Matadors. But Forthoffer doesn’t let the team’s size stop them from winning. He emphasizes this starts with players learning to combat their old habits and having the right mindset.
“Patient coaches are losing coaches,” Forthoffer said.
Forthoffer believes coaches should never be light on their players, as it doesn’t give players enough incentive to stay in the game, no matter how tall they are. Whong agrees.
“My mindset for every game is the same,” Whong said. “It is just to stay aggressive, and to just make the right reads for the team to allow us to win.”
Worn during both games and practice, basketball shoes are an essential part of the game. Four members of the boys basketball team talked us through their main priorities when looking for shoes.
Sophomore Akshay Gopalkrishnan used to not care what his shoes looked like. But after buying a pair of LeBrons for his AAU basketball team a couple years ago, all that changed.
“I wanted something that could perform well but also matched with our team colors, so I looked online and I found [the LeBron Soldier], and I was like ‘Oh wow this is a really nice shoe’,” Gopalkrishnan said.
Now, he considers aesthetics just as important as performance when buying shoes. This appreciation for style has not been limited to what he wears on the court, but it has also translated into his casual shoes and clothes. He finds himself revamping his personal style often, but still sticks true to sports-inspired street wear.
“I saw the basketball aspect of shoes and it definitely got me into stuff like NMDs and Ultra Boosts and all that kinda stuff,” Gopalkrishnan said. He now likes brands like Undefeated, Obey, and Nike.
Gopalkrishnan currently rotates through three different pairs of basketball shoes: Kobe A.Ds, Damian Lillard 2s and Crazylight Boosts. Although they all fit his standards in terms of aesthetics, the sneakers all vary in comfort: The Crazylight Boosts are light with a lot of cushioning, the Damian Lillards have good cushioning and are very comfortable, while the Kobes are stiffer and harder to break in. Regardless, he appreciates how all the shoes both perform and stand out both on and off the court.
Junior Ryan Lee’s main problems with generic shoes were quality and comfort rather than aesthetics. However, due the significantly higher price, he waited until he was sure he would continue with the sport to pick up branded shoes.
“Nike shoes are usually better quality, the traction on the shoes are better and they’re usually more comfortable,” Lee said, “but they are quite a bit more expensive than just generic shoes, which is why I kind of waited until I was more into basketball before I invested that money.”
He now plays in either his Kobe 9s or a new pair of Adidas Crazylight Boosts, although he finds himself reaching for the Crazylight Boosts more often because they have better traction and support. Lee finds comfort to be the number one priority when it comes to basketball shoes, since he plays so much in practices and games that uncomfortable shoes can cause blisters. In the end, Lee considers shoes just a means to play the game; they hold no sentimental significance for him, and serve a functional purpose.
Despite playing in a league where 6 feet 7 inches is the average height, 6 feet 3 inch tall Stephen Curry has still managed to become one of the greatest basketball players of our time, and has revolutionized the way the game is played. He has also served as a role model for countless players around the world, including junior Kevin Yang, who at 5 foot 6 inches is the shortest player on the boys varsity basketball team. He tries to emulate Curry’s playing style and uses Curry’s shoes as well. They fit well and feel good while Yang plays but, best of all, they are also an inspiration.
“I’ve been wearing them since his first ones came out. Since he’s become more of an iconic role model in the NBA, I’ve been continuing to wear his shoes,” Yang said. He rotates between two pairs of Curry 2s, a pair of Curry 2½s, and one pair of Curry 3s.
Having sneakers with good traction helps junior Joshua Chang move smoothly on the court, something that he finds helpful in games. However, this role of shoes in the game wasn’t always apparent to him.
“When I first started, basketball shoes didn’t really matter to me that much, but as I played more and more, I realized that having good traction… really is important for the game, so I researched more … I realized which shoes were better,” Chang said.
He has no particular brand preference, and uses both Curry 2s which are by Under Armour and Kobe 11s, which are Nike shoes. He likes the traction and durability of the newer Kobes, but says the Currys are still very comfortable.