John Veil has been sinking basketball shots for 12 years, and he doesn’t plan on stopping any time soon.
The Eden Prairie resident is in his senior year at Blake High School, and he’s hoping to take the team all the way to the state tournament for a repeat of last year’s stellar performance. As a second-term captain of the team, he’s remarkably talented, but credits his personal accomplishments—including a shooting record of more than 1,000 points throughout his high school career—to the team. “I couldn’t do any of it without them,” Veil says. “It’s really easy when everybody wants to be there and everyone wants to work out and everyone wants to win.”
And every member of the team does want to be there—Veil makes sure of it by encouraging team-bonding activities, including dinners and quiet focus time in the locker room just before games.
Veil led Blake to its first-ever state tournament in the 2012–2013 season, a goal toward which he and his teammates had been working since the beginning of their time at the school in 2009. “It was really a dream come true,” he says. “Our hard work finally paid off, even though the odds were stacked against us.”
That work ethic extends throughout Veil’s life: He enjoys school, especially math, and also played quarterback on the football team in the 2013 season, despite not having played the sport in four years.
Although he’s keeping his plans for the future open, Veil is certain that they’ll include basketball. “It’s like a part of me now,” he says of his No. 1 sport.