Hamilton's James Sosinski knows about the varsity limelight in basketball. A two-year starter and three-year letterman for coach Kevin Hartwig's solid and successful program, Sosinski is firmly in a leadership role for a team that lost plenty to graduation come late this fall and winter.
But Sosinski may be tasked this coming season with leadership on the gridirion in the next month plus when the 2014 football season begins in earnest. Sosinski is battling for the controls this preseason as starting quarterback for the Huskies in their bid to regain supremacy in Division I football. He is anxious to test his leadership ability the next seven to eight months in the two most visible sports.
“I want to be a captain and leader in both sports,” Sosinski said prior to Hamilton's summer league basketball game on Friday against Marcos de Niza at Tempe High. “Our basketball team lost a lot of guys, and we lost a lot in football, too. The biggest part for me this year is going to be mental.”
Hamilton football coach Steve Belles isn't ready to annoint a starter at quarterback until contact drills begin in August. Belles has liked what he's seen from the 6-foot-7, 235-pound senior-to-be.
“James has had a great summer, and seems to be taking the bull by the horns,” Belles said.
Juggling the two sports this summer isn't anything new for Sosinski, but expectations bring on a sense of urgency. He's typically been with the basketball team a couple times a week yet even those days generally signal double duty.
“When we played (Thursday), I think the up and down took a toll on our guys and him a little,” Hartwig said. “Our court is 84 feet and Tempe is 94 feet. That adds up after a few times back and forth.
“I'd like to have him out here more, but because he's been with us the last three years we know what he can do. And besides this is high school. If you can play two sports you should do it and enjoy it. You only go to high school once.”
In his two years starting as a power forward/post, Sosinski has brought consistent play to the floor. Starting for the first time as a sophomore in 2012-2013, he averaged 11.1 points a game and 6.5 rebounds. Last year he posted 12.6 ppg and 7.4 rpg. He has a solid inside game and on occasion forces defenders to be wary from 15 feet away.
Hamilton played twice Friday, one game in the morning and one in the afternoon. Those were Sosinski's final games with the team in the three-day, five-game tourney. In the morning game he scored 20 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in a 61-59 win over Marcos de Niza.
Sosinski heads for the Surprise Recreation Campus in Surpirse on Saturday with the rest of the Huskies for the season-finale passing league tournament. Sosinski didn't see a lot of playing time last year, getting one start in Hamilton's 14 games. That was a 32-0 victory over Perry in the regular-season finale. He's ready for an uptick in playing time having put his time to good use as a backup in 2013.
“We want to win everything in passing league, and we've done pretty well,” Sosinski said. “This is the time to get my motion down and leave the mistakes behind. I learned the playbook last year and have it down. That makes it a lot easier for this year.”
Hamilton has battled neighbor Chandler several times this summer in passing league. They've won some from the Wolves and lost a few. Chandler's first regular or postseason victory over Hamilton took place last year and the rivalry is heating up more with what's transpired this summer in 7-on-7.
“The rivalry is on with Chandler and we have to do some making up since we lost at state last year,” Sosinski said.. “That makes this year real important.”