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Bishop Miege Press

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Senior Standout: Howard Peoples emerges as leader on and off the court, eyes college basketball opportunities

Senior+Howard+Peoples+rises+up+for+a+dunk+against+St.+James+Academy+on+January+5.+Miege+won+the+contest+48-43.+
Evie McBride
Senior Howard Peoples rises up for a dunk against St. James Academy on January 5. Miege won the contest 48-43.

The ball smashes into the rim and falls just short of the three-point line. It’s scooped up quickly by a white jersey, then launched into the air towards the other basket. There’s one man out in front of everyone.

He gathers the ball, puts it on the floor once, then begins his ascent. Hundreds of fans decked out in white, red and blue gear start to rise to their feet.

Senior Howard Peoples rises to eye-level with the rim and thunderously punches the ball through the nylon – with his non-dominant hand. The bench, student section and fans erupt into pandemonium.

Peoples likely couldn’t have imagined himself in that moment a year ago. He spent his first three years of high school at Sumner Academy, where he excelled in athletics. When the opportunity arose to come to Bishop Miege for his senior year, Peoples jumped at the chance. The transition from public to private school came with unexpected benefits.

“Public school is almost like you have little friend groups, but it’s really everybody for themselves,” Peoples said. “Coming into this I didn’t think anyone would care about me. I thought I was just going to do my thing and stay out of the way, but people here really care about you.”

Teammates have quickly embraced Peoples on this year’s team. Off the court, the team has various methods of growing closer as a unit.

“As a team, the older boys go get food after practices or games,” senior guard Julius Lopez said. “We hang out with each other a lot. We’re really getting close, becoming a unit.”

The off-court bonding has started to translate to on-court play. Peoples serves an important role for the team physically and mentally.

“It starts in practice,” Lopez said. “He brings such good energy and raises everybody’s level. During games, everyone feels more comfortable when he’s out there with us.”

Assistant coach Steve Koesterer has worked with Miege basketball for over 26 years. He first met Peoples this summer at an open workout at Hyvee arena. Immediately, Peoples stood out.

“He came across as a very well spoken, intelligent and most importantly very polite kid,” Koesterer said. “He was very polite, very engaged and sincerely looked interested in getting better and taking the next step.”

Koesterer’s first impressions have remained correct as he’s spent more time around Peoples. He’s watched Peoples assimilate with the basketball team and take on a leadership role.

“I think he feels comfortable, as indicated by him always smiling and kind of engaging with other people,” Koesterer said. “He fit in right away. When he does something well, he can see the kids getting really excited for him, which indicates that they really like him, and that they really want him to succeed.”

Miege lost all five starters from last season’s team, which took third place at state. Peoples is the only member of this year’s starting five who has played high school basketball at the varsity level before. Naturally, more has been asked of Peoples than ever before in his career.

“My whole three years [at Sumner] I had a real supporting cast,” Peoples said. “And coming into this year, I really had to take on a huge leadership role. That’s probably been the biggest challenge for me, but I feel like I’m stepping into the role and embracing it.”

Koesterer has overseen dozens of current and former college basketball players play in a Miege uniform. Peoples is yet to receive a collegiate offer, but the experienced coach isn’t concerned about the lack of attention.

“College coaches aren’t stupid,” Koesterer said. “Once they put eyes on him, I think they’ll recognize his natural ability, and they’ll see how he interacts with other kids. They’ll see how he’s really a good teammate, and you don’t see that on film.”

“He came across as a very well spoken, intelligent and most importantly very polite kid,” Koesterer said. “He was very polite, very engaged and sincerely looked interested in getting better and taking the next step.”

— Assistant coach Steve Koesterer

Peoples won’t deny the stress of the recruiting process or the heavy workload he’s been given this season. But despite his full plate, Peoples remains set on his goals.

“It has its ups and downs sometimes,” Peoples said. “You feel like giving up, but your love for the game doesn’t go away. You’ve got to keep going.”

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About the Contributors
Daniel Sullivan, Sports Editor
Evie McBride, Staff Writer

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  • A

    Angelisa WilliamsJan 28, 2024 at 6:19 pm

    From Montrose Ar your Tt say proud is what you have bought your family stay humble seek his face n pray that he direct your path n pour you out ❤️ u beyond measures Treday

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  • Y

    Yolanda PeoplesJan 28, 2024 at 7:36 am

    Howard just want you to know that your family is so proud of you keep your head up eyes and ears open the sky’s the limit Nephew. WE LOVE U❤️#10

    Reply