Gaspar growing into Port Neches-Groves leadership role

Published 12:18 am Sunday, February 11, 2024

PORT NECHES — Port Neches-Groves junior guard Edison Gaspar played on varsity as a freshman for the Indians’ boys basketball team.

That experience has helped him relate to his younger teammates as he now finds himself as an upperclassman leading the team in points per game.

As his junior campaign comes to an end, Head Coach Chris Smith hopes Gaspar’s impact grows beyond the stat sheet.

Coaches are counting on Edison Gaspar, No. 1, to close the season strong and step up into more of a leadership role in 2024-25. (Chris Moore/The News)

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“I want him to understand what a leader is,” Smith said. “It is not just about him scoring. It is about being the ultimate team player. We talk to him a lot about making the right basketball play. We talk to him about making the play that might not benefit him but benefits the team. If we can make more of the right basketball plays, it probably means we are going to win the game.”

Some of that growth already started for the shooting guard.

The shifty ball handler can get his own bucket but has started to round out his game to be more impactful when the ball is not in his hands.

“Edison is a dynamic scorer,” Smith said. “He hit the 1,000-point barrier this year. He is going to be a leader next year for us. He is starting to play all aspects of the game. Now, he is starting to play a little defense and pass the ball a little more. He is turning into a pretty good player. The sky is the limit with him coming back next season for us.”

Gaspar now has several underclassmen teammates with multiple freshmen getting minutes on varsity.

He said he remembers what it was like to go from playing basketball against eighth graders one year and then 18-year-olds the next.

“I tell the younger guys to be confident,” he said. “I tell them they are here for a reason.”

PNG struggled since district play started, going 0-11 during that portion of the schedule. Gaspar said he wants to find a way to get a win for the community and the team.

“This is bigger than us,” he said. “It has been rough. We want to do this for the seniors. One of my best friends is Chris Clark. It is his last year. We want to at least get him a win.”

The Indians wrap up their season against Nederland at 7 p.m. Tuesday.