In a year with so much uncertainty, leadership will be key for basketball teams throughout the state but that leadership usually comes from seniors and with Owensboro Catholic having just one senior on its roster, that role falls on the shoulders of Gray Weaver.
Weaver was fourth on the Aces last season with 9.4 ppg but his offensive arsenal has expanded in 2021 as he’s currently second on the team at 17.0 ppg to help the Aces to their first 4-0 start since 2018.
“He’s a guy that cares a lot about basketball,” Catholic coach Tim Riley said. “He comes from a basketball family. Grandfather was a great player, played at Western Kentucky when they had their great teams. Dad was a college coach and he has a great understanding of the game of basketball.
“He’s going to give you effort everyday and that’s the best part of his leadership is just the fact that he works everyday. That still remains the best way to be a leader.”
Coming into this season, Weaver knew he’d be the lone senior but that didn’t mean he was worried about his new role.
“My goal was to get the team together, make everyone play as a team,” he said. “I’m not pushing any pressure on it … We’ve got high expectations but whatever happens, happens.”
Catholic had a few seniors last season that helped mold Weaver as he said during a time of turmoil, they stepped up.
He said that’s what showed him how to be a leader.
“When we found out that we weren’t playing and going to Rupp, they were really uplifting, looking at the bright side,” he said. “I think that’s the best they did. They were lifting everybody up.”
Weaver may be still relatively new to the Aces roster as this is just his second season at the school but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a close relationship with his teammates.
It’s that relationship that he said has made them successful this year.
“The thing about our team, off the court and on the court, we stick together every time,” he said. “There’s no bad blood between us, everybody’s friends. We don’t have anything wrong, any issues off the court. I think that’s the biggest thing.”
Junior Brian Griffith currently leads the Aces in scoring, as he did last season, but Weaver, along with Ji Webb and several others, have also added something to the Catholic roster this season.
Weaver said it makes them a dangerous team.
“Each night, me, Brian, everybody, we play off of each other,” he said. “We’re all going to get ours. If Brian is having a bad night, me and Ji, we’re going to try and pick it up. If I’m having a bad night, I know they’re going to pick it up. I know they’re going to have my back no matter what. That’s a really good feeling knowing you have other guys that’ll pick it up for you when you’re not performing.”
The Aces have already locked up their fifth-straight trip to Richmond with their win over McLean County on Monday night and Catholic is hoping for another 3rd Region title so they can actually play at Rupp Arena this season.
However they finish, Weaver said he just wants them to be proud of what they accomplish.
“I just want to go into the offseason happy with what we did,” he said. “No matter what happens, just know we gave it our all. We did our best on and off the court and just try to succeed mentally. Set high goals but try to do the things we want to do.”