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The official student news site of Coppell High School

Coppell Student Media

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October 26, 2023

Shooting for the stars

Lapsiwala rising as leader on court
Niharika Tallapaka
Coppell senior forward Arhan Lapsiwala shoots a free throw against Hurst L.D. Bell in the CHS Large Gym on Friday. Coppell defeated L.D. Bell, 62-51. Photo by Niharika Tallapaka

Now a university-committed and experienced basketball player, Coppell senior shooting guard Arhan Lapsiwala once struggled with making the middle school A team. His passion and drive, forged through years of experience and setbacks, were the pillars of his journey.

Raised as an Los Angeles Lakers fan by his father, Apurva Lapsiwala, Arhan developed a love for basketball at only age 5. From a childhood playing mini hoops in the backyard and YMCA games, Arhan took inspiration from Kobe Bryant’s work ethic and mindset towards attacking problems into account when creating his own basketball story. 

Arhan’s first setback was failing to make the A team in athletics at Coppell Middle School East in his eighth grade year.

“Almost being babied in the capacity that ‘You’re the best, you’re good at basketball,’ and then not getting my name called out for A team was a huge deal for me,” Arhan said. “It hit me that I needed to get a lot better if I wanted to make varsity or play in college. It made me realize that I’m not where I wanted to be basketball-wise. That transformed who I was as a person.”

Taking advantage of an unexpected school hiatus due to COVID-19, Arhan seized the opportunity to refine his skills in terms of workouts and practice. Two years later, he progressed from a middle school B team player to a high school varsity starter.

That sophomore year brought a significant game against Vertical Academy that acted as a fuel for Arhan’s passion in basketball. As his first varsity start and first game of the year, the highly anticipated game was in front of a nearly sold-out crowd and televised cameras.

“It was nerve-racking to be a part of, but scary and exciting at the same time,” Arhan said. “I love that blend of being nervous before a game, but also excited that you’re a part of something so big and important that impacts so many people around you.”

According to Arhan, Coppell boys basketball coach Clint Schnell is one of his biggest supporters. As a senior, he also took on the responsibility of being a glue for the team’s cohesiveness as a leader and role model.

“[Arhan] does a really good job of holding guys accountable,” Schnell said. “He’s got a personality that guys listen to, and they know too that he’s got skins on the wall. He’s been through the trials and the hardships of crucial game moments, and so when he talks, it’s not just words, there’s experience behind it.”

As one of Arhan’s closest friends and teammates, senior forward Antonio Romo thinks their friendship evolved because of being on different teams their sophomore year, as different experiences and outside practice together created a close bond.

“He’s good at bringing people together,” Romo said. “He knows what to say and how to say it to keep people going in the game.That translates to off the court to where if you’re down, he’s there for you.”

As a student-athlete, Arhan exemplifies the ‘student’ as he takes academic performance highly, despite the significant struggle of balancing basketball and studies. In order to balance his responsibilities, Arhan plans out his days to stay organized.

“You can’t lack on the academic side of things if you want a career,” Arhan said. “You need to know what your goal is at the end of the day, and for me, that’s not a career in basketball. I have to put academics first and can’t slack off on that just because I know I’m going to play basketball in college.”

Choosing the University of Chicago for its top-ranked MBA business program, excellent academics and proximity to downtown Chicago, Arhan understands the fierce competition for scholarships and playing time at the collegiate level.

“There’s a million other kids who are fighting for the same scholarship as you, the same playing time and the same goals as you,” Arhan said. “The only reason college coaches will pick you over them is just because you’re better. You work harder than them, keep your grades up and they think you’ll be a better fit in that program.”

Arhan’s athletic trainer, Jarrell English attributes Arhan’s future career opportunities and ability to play in college to his outstanding work ethic.

“He’s always been very coachable, and that’s one of the things I enjoy about him. He finds ways to get into the gym by himself and get up shots. He doesn’t need somebody around him to get him working hard,” English said.

Follow @sabah__uddin and @CHSCampusNews on X.

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About the Contributors
Sabah Uddin
Sabah Uddin, Staff Writer
Sabah Uddin is a junior and first year staffer for The Sidekick. She joined The Sidekick since she is newer to the district and wanted to find out more about what is happening in the Coppell community.  Sabah is a big fan of organization. She has ten detailed pinterest boards and at least five meticulous spotify playlists (one for each year as well as two different kinds of study music). In her free time she likes reading fantasy books, traveling and eating her favorite candy, sour patch kids. She will hopefully be getting her license in September (although she still struggles with parallel parking). Outside of The Sidekick, Sabah is a member of and competitor for the CHS DECA chapter. She also volunteers at the Islamic Center and works at Gideon Learning Center. She hopes to pursue a business related career since she sees many opportunities in the field. You can contact Sabah through email at [email protected] or on instagram @sabahhh.u

Niharika Tallapaka
Niharika Tallapaka, Staff Photographer
Niharika is a sophomore and it’s her first year on The Sidekick as a staff writer.

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