The guys on the basketball team are Ethan's friends before Lena comes to town. But once hurricane Lena rolls in, they turn their back on Ethan—and to be fair, he stops hanging out with them, too: "The guys [go] down one road, and [Ethan goes] down another" (10.09.27). Link remains a bridge between them, but it's a bridge Ethan has no plans on crossing.
The basketball team captain, Earl Petty, is also Savannah Snow's boyfriend du jour. Earl has some anger issues: he calls Lena a freak and slams locker doors. He even taunts Ethan to violence. At the winter formal, when he tells Ethan, "you shoulda stayed home" (12.13.116), Ethan snaps. He punches Earl in the face and pins him to the ground with his foot. We can't say we're proud of Ethan's actions, but we do think Earl kind of deserved it. To Earl's credit, he doesn't strike Ethan back, but that's probably the only honorable thing he does.
Emory Watkins doesn't do too much in the book other than act like a chauvinist pig. He ranks all the high school girls on a scale from 1 to 10, and then promptly ignores any of them who rate below a 4. Like the other guys, he tosses some mean-spirited teases in Ethan's direction about his relationship with Lena, but it doesn't go beyond these verbal jabs.
Shawn Bishop, the team's point guard, serves no purpose other than to ogle girls and make stupid remarks. Our favorite? When talking about picking up girls, he waxes poetic: "like pickin' peaches off the vine" (9.02.53). Man, basketballs have more brains.