Mercer Island High School senior David Pickles is one of the boys basketball team’s captains again this season. Courtesy photo

Mercer Island High School senior David Pickles is one of the boys basketball team’s captains again this season. Courtesy photo

‘You can never take a play off’

Mercer Island’s Pickles is a hard-working hoopster.

Leading by example is one of the core tenets that David Pickles brings to the basketball court.

The Mercer Island High School boys basketball senior captain garnered that piece of wisdom from his older brother and uncle, both of whom starred for the Islanders. His brother Andrew played for current head coach Gavin Cree, and his uncle John Gilliland graced the court under the tutelage of legendary head coach Ed Pepple.

David will swing his 6-foot-9 frame into action at the forward/center position when the Islanders take the court this month to begin their abbreviated eight-game season. The squad was set to tip off its first contest at 7:30 p.m. April 13 at Interlake and then play at Sammamish at 8:15 p.m. April 16.

The four-year starter said the Islanders are ready to roll and were already well-connected after a few days of practice with Cree and his staff.

Showing up to training early, getting in a host of warmup shots before practice begins, tossing positive feedback his teammates’ way and more is what David will focus on this season to be effective in the leadership realm.

When the ball is tipped into play, David spoke of running the court hard, beating his man down the court and trying to outwork everyone.

“You can never take a play off and you’ve always got to be working the hardest that you can while on the court,” he said.

Cree said that when David enters the gym, he’s all business and his teammates and coaches respect his work ethic.

“Even though it’s a short season this year, David is going to be the focal point of what we do on both ends of the floor and will make a big impact from start to finish,” Cree said.

* The Reporter asked Pickles a series of questions to get a behind-the-scenes glimpse into his life:

If you could go to dinner with one person, who would that be?

I think it would be really cool to go to dinner with Kobe Bryant. I think his work ethic was unmatched. And I think you can learn a lot from him. You know, that whole Mamba mentality. I think that’s irreplaceable and it’s very hard to come by. So I would love to kind of pick his brain and see what motivated him to be the person, an individual that he was.

What’s your favorite movie of all time?

“Step Brothers” with Will Ferrell.

What kind of special skill would you like to learn?

I currently am a big fly fisherman. That’s kind of a family thing. I spend a lot of time, especially in the summer months, fly fishing. If I was going to learn a new hobby, I would say it’s playing the guitar.

What makes you laugh?

I just enjoy being around people. I’ll find humor in one-on-one conversations or whether we’re in a big group of people, pre-COVID. It doesn’t necessarily have to be a funny joke or anything, but when I’m surrounded by good people and energetic people, I always find myself to have a smile on my face.

Is there anything that you’re afraid of that you might want to work on to not have that affect you?

I would say that kind of a cliche, basic answer is that I’m actually really not a fan of any type of snake or rodent.

Maybe a little better of an answer is sometimes you can’t help but worry when you’re going into a test or whatnot. Or even a big game, and I think that when you’re going into that test or big game, you just have to keep reminding yourself that you’ve been preparing for this and for X amount of days or weeks or whatever and trust yourself and trust your preparation.

What’s your favorite subject in school?

I’m actually currently in a macroeconomics class, and I think it’s by far the most interesting thing that I’ve taken during my high school career. I’ve taken a couple of marketing and accounting, finance, and classes along those lines, and I’ve really enjoyed those along with math. But I would say that this economics class, I always look forward to it.

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