Steamboat senior serves as ‘energy guy’ for Sailors |

Steamboat senior serves as ‘energy guy’ for Sailors

Steamboat Springs senior James Bogan defends his man in the closing minutes of a home game against Rifle on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Shelby Reardon

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — As the Steamboat Springs High School boys basketball team warms up, James Bogan waits under the basket. He tosses balls back to his teammates after made shots, then snatches up a miss. He takes a few steps back and shoots.

When the starters are announced, he high fives them and sends them off to the floor, then takes a seat on the bench. That’s where he stays for the rest of the contest.

Bogan doesn’t play much for the varsity squad. He’s hardly spent 10 minutes on the floor during a game this season. Still, he sticks with the sport, works hard and remains positive. 

“James is one of my favorite players,” said Steamboat boys basketball head coach Michael Vandahl. “Ever since he came into the program, every day, he comes to the gym with a smile on his face. He’s ready to work, and he works really hard.”

Vandahl said he once heard former head coach Kelly Meek say that if he owned a business, he would hire Bogan right away. 

Bogan understands his role for the Sailors. He said he’s the “energy guy” and tries to keep the mood up during practices and games. Knowing he will more than likely spend the entire game on the sidelines, he still gives it his all during warmups.

“I think of it as one of my last times touching the ball,” Bogan said. “If I go out, be serious and know that I did a good job, I know we’ll have a good game.”

The Sailors had a great game Saturday, as they won 59-42 over Rifle. On the bench, Bogan celebrated every shot. He bobbed his head and rolled his forearms over one another, dancing in his seat. He stood up and raised three fingers in the air after a three. He jumped and shouted and was almost always the most animated guy on the sidelines.

Steamboat Springs senior James Bogan points to a spot on the court while cheering on his teammates during a home game against Rifle on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Shelby Reardon

During a timeout, he clapped emphatically as his teammates came off the floor. When the other players on the bench took two slow steps toward the circle, Bogan grabbed a pair of water bottles off the floor and offered them to his teammates.

“Sometimes, we get a timeout, we get to the bench, we’re super mad, and we’re all ‘ugh.’ He’ll come up, pat us on the back, (and say) like ‘nice play, we’re fine, we’re fine,’” said senior Ethan Pyles. “During the game, he’ll fill up the water, bring it back. He just supports us a lot. I think, sometimes, we take it for granted.”

Pyles said if he’s having a low-energy day in practice, Bogan will help push him and make him a better player. Vandahl said Bogan is one of the better scout players as the Sailors prepare for an opponent.

Steamboat Springs senior James Bogan offers his teammates water during a timeout in the middle of a home game against Rifle on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Shelby Reardon

The Sailors have boasted a deep roster of talent over the past few years. Perhaps, if that wasn’t the case, Bogan would see more time on the hardwood. 

“Life lessons you teach about athletics, it’s about controlling what you can control,” Vandahl said. “He can’t really control that stuff, but he can control his attitude, and he does a good job with that.”

If Bogan ever gets frustrated with his situation, he doesn’t show it. He just keeps showing up and putting in as much effort as he can. 

When Steamboat developed a comfortable lead over Rifle in the late minutes, Vandahl put in his bench players, including Bogan. The senior took advantage of every second on the floor. He stole the ball from a Rifle player and zipped down the court. He missed his layup but drew a foul and effortlessly drained both his free throws. 

Steamboat Springs senior James Bogan reacts to a made 3-pointer during a home game against Rifle on Saturday, Jan. 18.
Shelby Reardon

Even when Bogan was a freshman, he wanted to be involved, tagging along on road trips to keep stats. Through his junior year, the 5-foot-11 shooting guard played on the junior varsity and C team, playing the most with the latter. He started playing basketball in sixth grade, and while he identifies more as a runner than a basketball player, Bogan hasn’t been able to give up the sport. 

“I get to experience what coaching styles work and don’t work and see how each team is different,” Bogan said. “It’s a good way to stay in shape.”

In the fall, Bogan ran cross country, and in the spring, he uses his endurance in the mile and 800 for the track and field team.

Before he even started sports, Bogan knew he wanted to be a game warden. Next year, he’s hoping to study at Colorado Northwest Community College before transferring to the University of Wyoming to study fish and wildlife management. 

Bogan isn’t the sole bench guy for the Sailors, though. His brother, sophomore Ben Bogan, plays for both varsity and the JV teams. He spends a lot of time on the sideline as well, giving the Bogan brothers a lot of time together.

“We bicker a little during practice because we’re brothers,” Bogan said. “But in the end, we’re just trying to make our team better.”

To reach Shelby Reardon, call 970-871-4253, email or follow her on Twitter @ByShelbyReardon.

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