Three members of Denair High School’s Southern League champion basketball team will continue to play in college.
The Coyotes finished the season 26-4, including a perfect 12-0 mark in league that earned them their first SL title since 2004. Denair made the playoffs for a third straight year, eventually falling in the first round of the NorCal Division V playoffs.
A large part of that success was due to the combined efforts of seniors Hayden Feldman, Austin Upfold and Jacob Kuharski. They were among the standouts of a talented team that didn’t lean on one player game to game, but used its depth and size to wear down most opponents.
Feldman will go to Merced College, where his versatility to play guard or forward no doubt will be an asset. He averaged 11 points, five rebounds and three assists last season – numbers strong enough to earn him Southern League MVP honors. A transfer two years ago from Turlock High, Feldman finished his varsity career with a 45-15 overall record and a 21-3 mark in league play.
Coach R.J. Henderson praised Feldman as a “Swiss Army knife” player who did whatever was needed on the court.
“Hayden will continue to bring his versatility and ability to compete at a few different positions to the next level,” Henderson said.
Upfold was a three-year varsity player for the Coyotes and a team captain this past season. He made 167 3-pointers in his Denair career, more than any player in the last 10 years. A second-team all-SL choice,
Upfold helped the Coyotes to 56 victories in three years. He plans to play at Modesto Junior College.
“Austin is someone who can space the court and shoot from distance,” Henderson said.
Kuharski, who will attend Hartnell JC in Salinas, only played a half a season for Denair after he transferred from Pitman High School. Still, he had a big impact during the Southern League schedule and in the playoffs. A bruising center, he averaged 11 points and 8.5 rebounds a game, and was named to the all-league first team. “He was arguably our best player in our three playoff games, including one at the state tourney,” Henderson said. “Jacob will have an opportunity to showcase his versatility as a player who can finish with both hands and is able to see the court at all levels.”