Athlete of the week is a new, online-only feature about one Prospect athlete that the Sports staff believes deserves recognition. This feature will run once a week.
This week’s choice is sophomore basketball player Mike LaTulip. The younger brother of team co-captain senior Joe LaTulip, Mike has emerged as a star in his own right with his recent performance, including a 20-point game against Buffalo Grove on Friday.
How long have you been playing basketball?
I’ve been playing basketball since I was about four years old
What motivates you to keep playing and to keep improving?
The motivation for me comes from setting long-term goals, for myself and for my team. That’s the motivation I get, from trying to achieve all those goals.
What kinds of goals have you set for yourself?
I plan to play college basketball. It’s always been one of my dreams, to play at a good school. And for the team, [my goal is] to try to make it as far as we can into the playoffs, and one of these years to make it down state. I mean, who doesn’t want to do that?
What’s your dream school?
I really like [the University of Illinois]. So far a couple colleges have been in contact. Dayton University has been one of them, and a couple Ivy League schools like Yale and Cornell. Other than that, I really like U of I, and I really like the Big 10 conference in general. So, one of my aspirations would be to play Big 10 basketball.
What’s the relationship like between you and your brother (senior Joe LaTulip, who also plays varsity basketball)?
That’s a frequently asked question. We’re brothers at home and we’re teammates on the court. The brother deal is still there on the court too; we help each other. If [you’re] having a down game, it’s great to know you have someone there for you out on the court to support you, outside of your teammates. I really do like playing with him.
Has your brother’s experience served as a model for you?
Seeing what [Joe] did last year in the playoffs and seeing what the [team] did, winning the conference championship, that’s really something I want to do as well.
When did you realize just how good you were?
I remember being pretty good in middle school, but it wasn’t until the summer going into freshman year that I really thought I had a shot to help this program really take off. [Also], I thought I really improved from last year to this year and now it’s all coming together, [to the point] where I could really play at the collegiate level.
What aspects of your game are you still working on?
Playing guys who are seniors and juniors, they’re all just really developed physically. I know, being a sophomore, I’m not there yet. I don’t really have the ripped biceps. So when you’re playing a team like [Buffalo Grove] that’s all football guys, you really have to find a way to hold your own out there. I think the fundamentals will really just take care of the physicality.
What do you like to do outside of playing basketball?
I really like to play baseball; I was a baseball player before. [Other than that], I just like to do normal things that any 15-year-old would do, just hang out with my friends … It’s just really the normal, 15-year-old life.
Who are your basketball role models?
I really like to model my game off of Steve Nash and those types of NBA players. The odds are against me playing professional basketball, but [I know] there’s a life outside of basketball. But as far as a role model, it’d probably be Steve Nash because he beat the odds in joining the NBA and being the player he is.