Meet the 2022-2023 Sunrise Squad
Updated: Oct 12, 2022
By: Steven Pham
Photos by: Shane Zisk
Wichita, KS - The 2022-2023 Sunrise Christian Academy roster is oozing with talent at all positions. This newly constructed roster is looking to match and build on the success of last year's team. The goal is to win the GEICO Nationals every year and Sunrise is poised for another run at the title.
Sunrise is returning three players from last year’s team. These returnees are Scotty Middleton, ranked 18th on ESPN’s Top 100 list for the class of 2023, Layden Blocker, ranked 22nd on ESPN’s list, and Joe Zhang who is returning for his third season with Sunrise.
Sunrise brought in 10 new players all across the world to round out their roster. This new group is headlined by Illinois native and five-star senior Matas Buzelis (ranked 11th) and Missouri native and four-star junior John Bol (ranked 29th for the class of 2024).
Other notable pickups include seniors; Miro Little from Finland, Almar Atlason from Iceland, Mykolas Ivanauskas from Illinois, and Jamisen Young from Wisconsin. Junior and Wichita native Aahn Bhakta. Sophomores; Mikel Brown from Florida, and Vincas Buzelis from Illinois.
Sunrise reloaded its roster with size, length, and athleticism to address some of last year’s weaknesses. Some of the players faced off during summer AAU and are familiar with one another.
I attended media day for Sunrise this past Thursday, September 29th, and can assure you that this team has extremely high energy and has built immense chemistry early on in the season. The culture Sunrise has built over the last couple of years has made them an attractive destination for players who are ready to elevate their game on the biggest stage.
“This was the best opportunity for me to play at a high level while developing my game for the collegiate level,” Atlason said. Other Sunrise players also came to play for an opportunity to compete at the highest level. “This is high-level basketball and you have to be ready and come hoop every day against the best competition consistently.
In an interview with Bol, he touched on this opportunity to grow and develop and said, “I came here to improve on my game and keep elevating against more competition. This is a school that can improve me as a player and a person.”
Buzelis wanted to join the Sunrise culture. “I believe in coach Luke and what he does and what this coaching staff does. They (Sunrise) have a great program here and are known to build great players and people. I also wanted to push myself at the highest level at a top program.”
This Sunrise squad has high expectations, a NIBC title to defend, and a national championship to chase this upcoming season. The team will start their journey at home on Thursday, November 10th.
Purchase season tickets for all our home games on our website here. The cost is $153 and benefits include; a reserved seat for every home game, check-in line at the gate (avoid the long lines), sharing your tickets if you cannot make a game, and one Nike Sunrise Christian Hoops polo.