Platte County forward Jesse Eggers stands 6-feet, 5-inches tall and weighs more than 250 pounds. He’s hard to miss.
But the Pirates basketball team did miss Eggers last season, when he decided to try his hand at wrestling. And while Eggers had a great season and qualified for the state tournament last February at 195 pounds, he realized that he missed playing basketball. So, he decided that he wanted to return to the hardcourt for his senior season. “I had a really great time wrestling last year, but I decided to come back to basketball, for many reasons,” Eggers said after the Pirates’ first home game last week against St. Joseph Lafayette. “I’ve played basketball my whole life and it just felt right to do it my senior year.” Platte County coach Rick Hodge knows a tough, physical big man is hard to come by, so he was glad Eggers made the decision to come back. “Jesse has improved our team in all areas,” Hodge said. “Offensively he gives us a physical post up presence with interior scoring. Defensively he’s able to guard bigs that post up and are able to go out on the perimeter. He gives us rebounding on both ends. There are times where he still shows rust in his game from taking last year off, but he’s working to improve on it in practice and it’s getting better.” So far, through five games heading into this week, Eggers has made his presence felt. In the first game of the season, he powered the Pirates to victory over Chillicothe with 26 points. Overall, he is averaging 10.4 points per game and 9.2 rebounds per game. Of his 46 total rebounds, 22 have come on the offensive end, leading to valuable second-chance opportunities. Eggers, who also starred for the Platte County football team this season as a standout linebacker/defensive end, said his comeback is a work in progress. “I started off really strong, but I’ve been scuffling a bit,” he said. “I did better tonight — at least I got it going on the defensive end.” Eggers had eight rebounds and two blocked shots as the Pirates gave Lafayette a run for its money before falling 47-34. Both Eggers and Hodge said the Pirates were noticeably better against the Irish than the first time they played them — a blowout loss in the semifinals of the season-opening Savannah Invitational.