It’s 8 a.m., and in the high-school quad, eight sophomore boys huddle in a circle.
“Did you get the Pink Diamond LeBron?” one asks loudly. (Pink Diamond is a code for the basketball video game series called NBA 2K.)
Many of the boys in the group play 2K and have unlocked Pink Diamond codes over the past year.
They also love basketball and comprise what may be the first-ever Country Day sports clique.
Members of the group (Reggie Fan, Miles Edwards, Theo Kaufman, Harkirat Lally and Jake Longoria) say the clique’s leaders are B.J. Askew, Jayce McCain and Rick Barros III.
“I don’t feel as if they lead us, but they’re more kind of figureheads,” Longoria said. “Like the royal families of England kind of thing.”
Askew, McCain and Barros have known each other for years because of AAU basketball.
In fact, Askew and McCain have grown up together. They first met when they were 3.
“We’re basically brothers,” Askew said.
Askew and McCain met Barros when they were 10.
And the three have been starters on the varsity basketball team since freshman year.
But are they really a clique? The boys say yes and no.
A clique is “a small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them,” according to Encylopedia.com.
“What makes us a clique is that we play basketball,” Askew said. “It’s what made us come together.”
McCain agrees. “We do a lot of things together that have to do with basketball, and our friendship grows and we just hang with each other,” he said.
But Askew and McCain don’t believe that they are a clique in the sense of not allowing others to join them.
“We don’t exclude people,” Askew said.
“If you’re cool and not mean, we hang out with you,” he said. “We don’t say ‘Get out of our group because you don’t like basketball.’”
And Barros rejects the “clique” label altogether.
“We are just a group of friends that hang out together,” Barros said. “We can’t control what others do.”
However, many other students call this group the first jock clique at the school.
“I mean, I don’t really know them that well,” senior Sydney Michel said.
“But I also think that we have never had a basketball team like this before with so many talented players. So it makes sense to me that they would always be together and be a unit because they have so many common interests.”
But the boys say they aren’t typical jocks.
“We’re athletes, but we don’t think we are cooler than everyone else,” Askew said. “We also do well in school.”
According to McCain, when he hears the term “jocks,” he thinks of dumb guys who are both mean and athletic.
“We are smart and do well in school,” he said. “And we aren’t mean to others.”
“We actually push ourselves to get grades,” Barros said. “We don’t bully anyone. We just hang out.”
And students who have transferred say that Country Day’s “jock clique” is nothing like those at public schools.
“At public school, it’s definitely more divided,” said junior Alexa Mathisen, who attended Rio Americano High School for a year and a half.
“Everybody can’t be friends with everybody because there’s no way you can know all 600 (or more people) in your class, let alone the whole school. It’s divided on who’s in your classes and extracurriculars.”
Mathisen said that naturally jocks hang with jocks because that’s who they see every day, just like the drama kids.
“At Country Day it’s (very) different because no one can go unnoticed because there’s so few people and everybody’s nice,” Mathisen said.
Senior Max Schmitz attended Davis High School for a semester and played JV football.
“The jocks were dumb as bricks but weren’t mean,” he said.
Schmitz doesn’t think that Askew, Barros and McCain are jocks.
“There aren’t any jocks at Country Day,” he said.
Schmitz said that public-school school cliques and Country Day cliques in general are very different from each other.
“Cliques here are less mean to each other,” he said. “They’re a little bigger at Davis, and they’ve known each other for not as long. They’re also louder. There’s less hatred here and it’s more open.”
Clique or not, the boys in the group say they don’t feel like being part of it is an honor.
“It doesn’t feel special,” Longoria said. “I don’t feel like I’m better than anyone (because) I hang out with them in our clique. It just feels normal.”