Local talent giving Roanoke College a boost on the hardwood

Northside product Kasey Draper has scored in double figures in seven games this season

SALEM, Va. – Roanoke College is a cohesive, unselfish group with a mix of youth and experience. They’re off to a 4-1 start in conference play, currently riding a six-game win streak.

“We’re a balanced team, I don’t think we have one guy that has to carry the load and we just continue to get a little bit better each month,” said fourth-year head coach Clay Nunley.

The Maroons have a roster full of talent with guys from North and South Carolina and even one player from as far away as Australia. But there’s also a group of guys that rep the “540” that has provided a spark to the season.

Nick Price and Kasey Draper won dozens of games together as Northside Vikings and now they’re back at it again at the college level. Price has improved his defense and ball-handling skills over the past two years, while Draper has scored in double figures seven times during his freshman campaign.

“We’ve grown up together and played together and just to go from high school to college and play together, the chemistry has always been there and I don’t think it’ll ever leave and it’s been a great process with that,” said Draper.

“We have that connection still. It’s like playing in high school again whenever I give him an assist or he gives me an assist. We know what we’re doing right off the bat,” Price said.

Also with the team is former Patrick Henry sharpshooter John Stockstill and Lord Botetourt product Joe Mikalauskas-- who has played a big role the past four years, starting 26 games his junior season. Now he’s one of three senior captains for the squad.

“Every season I’ve had a different role. I’ve understood that, coach has understood that and I’m just happy to contribute as much as I can every night that I’m needed,” said Mikalauskas.

“We’ve been lucky to have some good players here in the Roanoke Valley and several of them have chosen to stay close to home and there’s good reason to-- it’s a good place to go to school and a tremendous place to play basketball,” said Nunley.

The Maroons are hot now but their goal is to let the shots keep falling, keep the defense turned up and hopefully see the wins continue.

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