A Devils Lake High School boys basketball senior captain has been an impact player in the Firebird basketball program through his ability to do the dirty work and play hard at all times, his coach says.
"I am good with it," Hunter Fee stated about his recent position change from center to power forward on the hardcourt. "As long it helps the team, I will do whatever it takes."
That is a comment that seems to describe the high school athlete's outlook quite well.
A captain on the Devils Lake boys basketball squad, the senior has been a mainstay in the starting lineup for the past three seasons. In that time, he has provided the Firebirds with a fierce presence inside on both offense and defense. Fee has also brought a team-first attitude that serves his program well, Devils Lake head coach Derek Gathman pointed out.
If you look up the definition of a consummate teammate, there will be a picture of the senior post player, the coach commented.
"That is Hunter, he is not out for himself. Whatever is best for the team is all he thinks about," Gathman said. "The thing that stands out to me is how excited he gets for his teammates when they do something well. It's awesome to see."
Fee became the Firebirds' starting center, standing at 6-feet tall, during his sophomore season. Despite being undersized, the Devils Lake player stood toe-to-toe with the biggest and strong post players in the EDC.
Competing against larger players wasn't anything new for Hunter. Through the years, he became used to play inside. Often, he was much shorter than his opponent. That, however, never bothered Fee very much.
"I have had to guard the tallest player on the court for most of my basketball career," he commented. "It really doesn't faze me. The physicality of the sport has always been one of my favorite parts. It's something I have worked to improve."
Despite being a young and undersized post player, Fee brought something to the squad from the moment he first stepped onto the court as a sophomore, Gathman said.
"We trusted him," he pointed out. "As a coaching staff, we knew he was going to make plays and do the right things out there. The plays he consistently made gave us the best chance to compete and win."
For the past three years, he has been one of the Firebirds' top rebounders. Averaging five boards per game, Fee is currently fifth in EDC when it comes to pulling down offensive rebounds with 18 in seven contests.
"Defense and rebounding are things I take pride in," he said.
Gathman added, "Hunter has always been willing to do the dirty work. On offense, he's so unselfish and just makes good decisions. Defensively, he may guard a wing one night and the opposing center the next night. I know that he is willing to do whatever it takes for our team to successful. It says a lot about the type of player by the way he can bounce around and be effective."
The senior captain is excited about the potential of the current season. Devils Lake is 3-4 on the season, but has faced tough competition. The Firebirds are coming off of a triumph over No. 5 Grand Forks Red River
"It's been a pretty good season so far. We had some tough games early on, but I think we are getting it down now," Fee stated. "Our seniors have been all playing together for a long time and know how each other plays very well."
Last season was a breakout campaign for the Firebirds as the team returned to state. Getting back to the State Class A Basketball Tournament is among the goals of this year's Devils Lake squad along with being a top defensive team.
"It was a good experience," the player said of competing at state last season. "Now, we know what it takes to get back."
One new component this season for Fee has been working to become a senior leader. The post player noted that there were several upperclassmen who were positive examples during his first several years of high school basketball. While it took time to get used to, the senior has grown into his newly-found leadership position. The underclassmen have worked hard this season, Fee said.
Gathman pointed out that Hunter is a lead-by-example player always doing the right things. Fee has become more vocal this season, his coach said.
"It's been fun to see him grow this year and get more comfortable talking to the younger guys," he said. "He is a quiet kid. But when Hunter speaks, everyone listens."
Not only has the senior made an impact in the basketball program, but he was also a three-year starter and an All-State performer for the Firebird football team.
Fee, who admits that football is probably his favorite sport, has talked to several college coaches about continuing his career on the gridiron.
For now, however, all of his focus is on the hardcourt.
"I want to help this team go as far as it can go," he said.
Gathman has enjoyed having the student athlete part of the program. Fee is a great example for you young players to watch, the coach said.
"Hunter is a great example and role model. It just shows that if a player keeps his head down, plays hard and does the right things, they will be successful," Gathman added. “He is just simply a great kid."