There have been times in recent years when four wins was a season total for the U.S. Grant boys basketball team.
But led by 6-foot-7, 180-pound forward Jose Gutierrez, the Generals won their fourth straight game, and ninth of the season, with a 49-34 defeat of John Marshall on Friday.
Gutierrez posted a triple-double in the win — 25 points, 14 rebounds and 11 blocked shots — to earn The Oklahoman's Boys Basketball Player of the Week honor.
But it wasn't a one-game show for Gutierrez, who has become a force in the paint both offensively and defensively for the Generals.
“He's starting to step forward and show some leadership qualities, so we've really been leaning on him the last few games,” first-year head coach Damon Hornbeak said. “He's really quick off his feet and blocks a lot of shots. But he's very disciplined and hardly ever fouls out.”
At 9-10 on the year, the Generals are building confidence as the postseason approaches.
“We're playing on another level lately,” Hornbeak said. “The defense is clicking, and the players are believing in themselves more.”
Gutierrez — nicknamed “Tree” because he's so tall and skinny — has been at the center of the team's resurgence. Averaging nearly a double-double for the season, he could be on his way to earning a college scholarship.
“Oklahoma City University came up and looked at him earlier,” Hornbeak said. “But he's just starting to compile these numbers, so there could be more coming.”