The Bellarmine Varsity Basketball team, to no one’s surprise, enjoyed an extremely successful season finishing 23-5 and making it all the way to the CCS finals where they were narrowly defeated by rival Archbishop Mitty. Three-year varsity guard Quinn Denker, this year’s captain, played well in every game. Often delivering spectacular plays when the team needed him most and running the offense whenever he was on the floor (which was often). On the offensive end, Quinn could score with or off the ball. Some of his most memorable plays involved mixing up defenders with chains of killer crossovers. What’s even more impressive is his ability to move without the ball and maneuver his way to an open lane or shot. At the end of the season, Quinn received high praise for his play even earning the honor of CCS Player of the Year, from 49ers Cal-Hi, America’s #1 HS Sports TV Show. Quinn has also been recognized as a finalist for the Men’s NorCal Player of the Year Award. In order to reach this point in his career, Quinn says that the Bellarmine program, as well as hard work, has helped him tremendously, “My time at Bellarmine has been incredible. I feel like everything happened in a way that made me better over the course of four years. Freshman year me facing a little adversity because I wasn’t as big as the other guys. Sophomore year putting in the work and making varsity. Junior year growing and learning under the amazing coaching staff and becoming a better player and person. And senior year doing my best to show off what being a Bellarmine Bell truly means.” Along with help from his father, Chris Denker, who has held virtually every job in basketball, from player, coach, and scout at the pro, college, and high school level. On what his father has meant to his development, Quinn said, “my dad has helped me the most in my entire career of basketball because he is the most supportive coach and dad on this planet. I was lucky enough to be able to be raised by him, he is a former D1 and pro coach and now currently scouts for the NBA as well as coaching me. He has the best basketball brain on this planet as far as I know. He works so hard for my family and me to set us up to succeed and I am forever grateful to him for all he has done for me.” To be named a finalist for the NorCal player of the year is incredible, with hundreds of high school programs in Northern California along, being named one of the best players his a huge honor. When I asked him what it meant to be recognized as a finalist he said, “It means so much to me and my family and shows me that the time and effort I have put into my craft is paying off. I have made so many sacrifices and put in so many hours into this game and missed out on a lot of things other normal kids were doing. But I never wanted to be a normal kid, I wanted to be the best at what I do. To be a finalist with such amazing players means that all of what I’ve been working towards is starting to come.”
Many of the other finalists also featured for the award are players Quinn has had to square up against, including Mitty’s Mike Mitchell, Riordans, Je’Lani Clark and Bryce Monroe and Dublin guard Anthony Roy who Bellarmine squared off against in the CIF. Regarding the other players, I was curious to know if Quinn enjoyed facing off with these high caliber players, he responded, “I love playing against elite players because it is not only a chance to show off your skills and show people what you can do but it gives you an opportunity to learn from them and better yourself. For example, Bryce has an elite variety of finishes at the basket. Jelani is a great ball-handler and is very shifty. Mitchell is a really great rebounder at the guard position. Roy is very talented at picking his spots and has a great pull-up game. What’s cool about it all is in the heat of competition players gain each other’s respect and I have built a relationship with some of these guys through playing.”
While being nominated for an award for this stature, it would be a whole other story if Quinn were to win this award. I asked him what it would mean for him if he was selected, he said, “It would mean so much to me and would benefit me in so many ways and would also benefit the Bellarmine community. To be able to take home an award like this would not only encourage kids to want to come to bellarmine but maybe bring success to our basketball program. I am the only one on that list who isn’t committed or has multiple D1 offers. This would help boost my recruitment and show that the opposing players and coaches know who deserves it.” This particular award also happens to be selected through a fan vote, so the only way for Quinn to win this award is if the Bellarmine community comes together and votes for him. Quinn issued a message to the community stating, “This system of voting will influence other things and is also going to be used for the actual writer of the magazine to make all NorCal teams which if I am apart of is another thing that promotes Bellarmine and myself. Bellarmine has blessed me with so many opportunities over my four years to put me in a position to succeed. I worked so hard this year to give back to Bellarmine and our basketball program. Please go support me and Bellarmine by VOTING! GO BELLS!!!” So please, if you are able, vote for Quinn to win the NorCal Player of the year award. The link to vote will be below this article.