HAMMOND | Travon Atkins is an extreme rarity. You'd have an easier time finding a winning lottery ticket than find what he is.
Atkins is a first-year varsity player and he is a senior.
“I came to the first day of tryouts and Travon impressed me,” said first-year Morton coach Kevin Dermody. “I just assumed he'd been one of the guys in recent years.”
Atkins said he had a difference of opinion with the former Governors' coaching staff.
“I never felt like I was going to get a fair shake,” Atkins said. “So I didn't go out after my freshman year.”
On Tuesday Atkins will get his first varsity game on the big stage as Morton will take on Hanover Central in The Times 14th annual Region Roundball Rumble.
The game will be played at the Hammond Civic Center.
But the lack of experience has been a work in progress for Dermody and Atkins.
“He really impressed me during tryouts,” Dermody said. “He's a slasher. He can really get to the basket. But he's a little behind. He shoots when he should pass and passes when he should shoot.
“He's made great progress and I believe very soon he's going to turn the corner.”
Atkins is averaging 10 points a game and six rebounds.
When asked why he didn't give up on playing high school basketball, Atkins had a sharp and sure response.
“Basketball is one of my main things,” Atkins said. “I just love the game. High school ball is much different from outdoor pick-up games or games at the rec.
“I have a lot of small details that I'm picking up as we go along. I feel like I'm doing OK. But I know I have a way to go.”
Dermody knows that Hanover Central is a good team, despite the Wildcats' four-game losing streak. He knows Hanover didn't start the season 5-0 without a reason.
“They like to shoot the 3,” Dermody said. “They like to push the ball to open spots. We need to put more pressure on their shooters.
“It should be an exciting game. We're all looking forward to it.”
Atkins has the same pulse running as he looks forward to The Rumble.
“We need to control pace and limit turnovers,” Atkins said. “Scoring and defending is the name of the game. If we score and defense we should be all right.”