GHS Boys Basketball — Moving can be an exciting time for a person. There are opportunities to make new friends, see new places and compete on new teams.

By the same token, changing schools — and moving to a whole new state — can be challenging at first. Hunter and Braden Wood experienced as much this past summer when they moved from Arkansas to Gunnison.

Both had played basketball, football and had run cross country and track before, but as the summer months flew by it became clear that the basketball court is where the Wood brothers would shine amid their new surroundings.

Passion for the game started at the age of 3 for Braden and 6 for Hunter, who recalled ever since he could walk he has had some kind of ball in hand. This would lead to Hunter falling in love with the game of basketball the first time he stepped on the court.

“My brother and I usually played every day over the summer for about three to four hours,” Hunter said. “We worked on everything that one would need to be successful at the sport.”

The hard work that current sophomore Hunter and freshman Braden put in over the summer has shown early in their first season as members of the Gunnison High School (GHS) boys basketball team. Both Wood brothers have managed to lead their teams — varsity for Hunter and junior varsity for Braden — in scoring on multiple occasions.

“They both have a tremendously strong work ethic,” said Lee Wood, their father. “I’ve tried instilling to them from a very young age that it’s so important to work very hard at what you want in life.”

While the Woods have been playing basketball since they were able to walk, they could have made their debut at GHS on the track instead of on the court.

“They both ran cross country in middle school back in Arkansas,” said Lee. “Although I ran college cross country and track and have coached cross country and track for 13 years, I told them to go with what you love the most and for them that’s basketball, which I totally support.”

Lee continues to stay involved in cross country. He joined the Western State Colorado University cross country team this season as an assistant coach.

While Hunter and Braden are still underclassmen, they have their sights set on playing basketball at the next level.

“I want to try to make it to a Division I college on a scholarship for basketball,” said Braden, acknowledging his lofty ambitions. The same goes for Hunter.

In order for the Wood brothers to accomplish their dream of playing at the next level they know that it will require them to improve their game — and maintain strong grades.

“Dealing with the move has been stressful,” said Hunter, “but I’m starting to get more comfortable with the people and school is coming easier for me.”

On the other hand, Braden, while only a freshman, has seen success on the court and in the classroom.

“My grades have always been pretty good,” said Braden. “I could have done a lot better at algebra and physical science for sure though.”

Although it will be a couple of years before either Wood brother goes off to college, their main focus will be on helping the Cowboys improve on their 1-6 start this season.

(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or brandon@gunnisontimes.com.)