BOYS BASKETBALL: Cougars Earn All VOL Recognition


All VOL: Richard Banks, Elliot Mobley, Khristian Holmes, and Elijah Mobley

Voting for the ALL VOL boys basketball team took place last Saturday, and the Weston Ranch Cougars received the league’s top two awards. Junior Elijah Mobley was voted the VOL’s Most Valuable Player, and head coach Nicholas Podesta was named VOL Coach of the Year. In addition to Mobley’s and Podesta’s honors, Junior Khristian Holmes was voted First Team All-VOL, Junior Elliot Mobley was voted Second Team All-VOL, and Sophomore Richard Banks was named to the VOL’s All-Defensive Team.

“I was very proud of the guys for being recognized for their accomplishments,” said Podesta. “We really celebrate our collective achievements, but we need to recognize the individuals for their achievements. They are all well-deserved honors.”

Elijah Mobley averaged 24 points, six rebounds, and two steals per game for the Cougars in the VOL. Sometimes his starts were slow, but his second-half scoring outbursts usually helped put the game away for the Cougs. In addition to his ability to score, Mobley demonstrated unparalleled leadership. If he was having an off-night scoring, he helped the Cougars in other parts of the game to help his teammates elevate their game. An MVP makes people around them better, which Mobley did for the Cougars.

“The MVP means a lot to me,” Mobley said. “It was special for me to have the coaches say I was the best player this year. Winning the VOL meant a lot more because it was our last time in the league, and we wanted to leave our mark. So coming away with a championship and the MVP was pretty remarkable.”

Khristian Holmes averaged 17 points and led the Cougars in rebounding with seven per game on his way to his First Team All-VOL selection. Holmes was another member of the Cougars who made the people around him better. Whether he was scoring, rebounding, or leading the Cougars’ offense, Holmes filled many roles for the Cougars.

“I thought it was a blessing (to be named First Team),” said Homes. “I thought my play might get me some recognition, but I try to stay humble. I give thanks for being on this basketball team.”

Elliot Mobley averaged 15 points, four rebounds, and five assists for the Cougars in the VOL and was selected Second Team All VOL. Mobley is also ranked #5 in the Nation and #1 in California in charges taken. Pretty impressive stats for the junior.

“I was kinda shocked (about getting on the second team). But I know that if I keep working hard, the payoff will be big,” Elliot Mobley said. “The award was nice, but we just wanted to win a championship and keep going.”

Richard Banks was named to the VOL’s All-Defensive Team. Banks, a sophomore, led the Cougars in steals and deflections. His strong defensive play gave the Cougars excellent opportunities to get turnovers, leading to many opportunities for the Cougars offensively.

“After I saw I made the team, I got pretty excited,” Banks said. “Freinds texted me to say congratulations. I’m pretty proud of my contributions to the team. It means a lot to me because not many people thought we could win the league. It’s special.”

After securing their last VOL Championship on Friday (a 77-48 pasting of Sierra), the Cougars cut down the nets and looked toward the CIF Sac Joaquin Section playoffs. Saturday’s news of the individual honors was the icing on the cake for the young Cougars, who finished a strong 18-10 overall and an impressive 10-2 in the VOL.

Podesta added, “Great players make great coaches, so I’m pretty honored by the recognition. This team is filled with an excellent group of basketball players. The kids have dedicated themselves to this program, and it’s great to see them achieve.”