“AJ is here everyday at 6 a.m. shooting and working He’s cost me thousands of hours of sleep over the past four years but I absolutely love him for it. AJ sets the tone for everyone else with his work ethic, with his voice and with his leadership."
AJ Bates has been going into the record books at Seven Lakes his entire high school career.
Bates has been part of the highest highs for Seven Lakes. Bates has helped improve the program and that coincided with the Spartans best ever season last year.
But those accomplishments haven’t satisfied one of the best to walk through Seven Lakes halls. The Louisiana Tech commit hasn’t taken a day off going into this year and he continues to push himself and his teammates to be the best they can be.
“AJ is here everyday at 6 a.m. shooting and working,” said Seven Lakes head coach Shannon Heston. “He’s cost me thousands of hours of sleep over the past four years but I absolutely love him for it. AJ sets the tone for everyone else with his work ethic, with his voice and with his leadership. He sets the example on the court and he’s one of the most coachable kids I’ve ever been around. He’s made me look smarter than I am and we’re going to enjoy this year.”
This all comes after Bates has won back to back District MVPs, was named an All-Region and All-State player and a received a number of Division I offers. But for Bates it isn’t about that, it’s about continuing the trajectory Seven Lakes has been on. The Spartans have gotten better every year that Bates has been there, winning two straight district titles and making it to the regional semifinals last year. And their goals are to go further this year.
“This is a fun group this year and I think we have a lot of potential,” Bates said. “it’s different than the last three years. We don’t have the most size but these guys play with so much energy and these guys really care for each other. I feel like this team has the best chemistry that I’ve been a part of and if we just stay together, play for each other and do everything we can I think that can carry us to San Antonio.”
Bates has already started his senior year in a big way. He already has broken the career scoring record for Seven Lakes and is up to 1,600 points for his career while he is averaging 24 points per game on the season. The Spartans have started the season off very strong with a 9-2 record while playing a number of state ranked teams. As Bates said, the goal for the team is to get to the state tournament this year and everything they do is to try and build towards that, and the Spartans know Bates is at the center of what they are trying to do.
“What’s been fun for me is that I’ve been able to take a moment to appreciate AJ and what he’s done not for just this program, but for myself even and for all the fans and kids here at Seven Lakes. He’s such a fantastic kid on and off the court and is basically a coach on the court. He’s just an incredible person and player and we are so lucky to have him here.”