Perseverance, God and basketball drives Sweetwine

Feature Photo By: Salmata Soulemane – Junior Isaiah Sweetwine, number 35, looks for an open player while being guarded by junior Tasontai Brown. The two friends participated in the annual Rangeview Red & White basketball game.

By: Salmata Soulemane, Review Staff

Isaiah Sweetwine is a junior on the Rangeview boys JV basketball team — will he be as “Sweet” as his name perceives?

Sweetwine suffered from a fractured fibula on September 25th, which affected several bones in his foot along with his Achilles tendon. He had to take about two months off in order to heal, and according to him, his thoughts on it were unbearable.

A reasonable healing time for a fractured fibula is 10-12 weeks, yet Sweetwine is returning to basketball early as he slowly eases into full health and recovery.

Sweetwine was introduced to rehab in order to adjust; however, it has taken a toll on him.

I did not feel very confident in myself upon my return,” Sweetwine stated. “But I hope to not let the injury affect me too badly during the regular season and moving forward.”  

Because he has been cleared, he plans on getting back to working on himself and his game.

Sweetwine said, “I have goals of being a great basketball player, but a better person to everyone who has played or is playing with me this upcoming season and in the future.”

He also spoke on small goals he has: Being the best defender on the floor, making his teammates better, improving passing and rebounding to keep the game moving and concise.

Isaiah Sweetwine dribbles down the court as the scoreboard reads 32-29 (Salmata Soulemane).

Head Boys’ Basketball Coach Shawn Palmer says, “He’s definitely a hard worker, and he’s worked a lot on his defense and shooting and those are two areas that will rely on him both the JV level and potential varsity level, too.”

This season, the boys’ basketball team is not senior heavy. As a junior, Sweetwine has worked to be a leader on the team; he has chosen to be a guide to an efficient student and devoted athlete.

“I make sure my grades are always good just to show a lot of the younger guys that you have a whole window of opportunity just by maintaining acceptable grades,” says Sweetwine.

Even off of the court, he addresses the younger players ranging from highlighting films to watch, to ways to stay healthy and tips on how to take care of their bodies.

During his recovery, he was able to learn more about himself and the role he wants to have.

“[While injured] I learned to be more of a leader as a person and a basketball player,” Sweetwine said.

Throughout his healing process, Sweetwine always kept faith in God, prayed and was thankful every day he had a chance to feel better.

God has been the biggest part of my life these past two months as well,” Sweetwine stated. “Reading the Bible and keeping my faith strong will definitely show up on the court.”

Not only is Sweetwine religious, but to many, he is a comedian of his friend group.

Junior Tasontai Brown, best friend, and teammate says, “Isaiah has a goofy personality and that’s what he makes it fun playing with him. He’ll crack jokes, do weird things, and smile… [yet] he still will work hard and yell because he’s also serious about this basketball lifestyle.”

Tasontai Brown guards Isaiah Sweetwine. The two boys have grown up and studied the game of basketball together (Salmata Soulemane).

Some say Sweetwine is a player that won’t back down from any challenge that he is up against, as he works hard on everything he does, whether it’s a practice or a full-on basketball game.

Whenever given the chance, Sweetwine goes to the gym trains.

Brown says, “We will literally stay and play ball until we are forced to get off the court, or it’s nighttime and the facility is closing fully, then we have to leave.”

Sweetwine hopes to have a chance to play at the varsity level.

Coach Palmer said, “He definitely has potential to be playing at the varsity level. He’ll have opportunities to practice against our varsity every day, and then we’ll suit up two junior varsity players for each varsity game — so he’s definitely a potential varsity guy on a day-to-day basis, just kind of what he’s done these couple of years and what he’s worked on over the summer as well.”

As a player, Sweetwine wants to win as much as possible and create a winning environment as much as he can. Through his journey and without his injury holding him back, he hopes to become one of the best to represent Rangeview High School.

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