By TOM ROBINSON
MANHEIM – The JB Hoops program made an impression on Brett Rumpel he was on the opposite side playing against the teams out of Backcourt Hoops in Scranton.
“We used to play JB Hoops a lot,” said Rumpel, the lone New York State resident on a JB Hoops team. “Our AAU team went its separate ways.
“I was looking for an AAU team.”
Rumpel and his family decided to try making the hour trip from Binghamton, N.Y. for practices to join a former opponent.
The decision has been paying off for Rumpel and the JB Hoops Brown, a ninth-grade team.
Clearly comfortable with the ball, as both a scorer and playmaker, Rumpel is continuing to develop other parts of his game, including on the defensive end and when playing offense away from the ball.
JB Brown Hoops Brown has added an effective closer.
When the East Coast Championship opened May 5 at Spooky Nook Sports Complex, Rumpel showed off some of the moves that made him the sixth man on a New York Class B state finalist at Seton Catholic High School in Binghamton.
Rumpel scored the game-winning basket in the closing seconds of one win and hit the go-ahead basket as part of a major role in the decisive run in the team’s second win.
“If he’s playing well at the end of the game, I can call a play for him and get him in a spot where he’s comfortable scoring and he generally executes.”
Rumpel did just that. He drew a foul while scoring the winning basket in a 50-48 victory over Syracuse Select Coker.
JB Hoops Brown trailed with less than five minutes remaining before Rumpel had 13 of the points in a 17-point streak that fueled a 55-43 victory over LL Thunder.
“I saw that they were playing off me a little bit because I had gone around them a couple times,” said Rumpel, who put JB Hoops ahead to stay with one of his two late 3-pointers and also had a three-point play during the decisive streak. “I was feeling my jump shot.”
Rumpel took over down the stretch when JB Hoops needed him, but the team has generally been showing more balance.
The newcomer has not missed a practice while getting the feel of playing with new teammates and within a new program.
“It’s been different,” he said. “We’re getting better. They’re all good kids; they’re all unselfish. We share the ball.
“Practice has been good. Playing with the older guys challenges you.”
When games were on the line at the East Coast Championship, Rumpel was up to the challenge.