By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Long before Sam Stask became the on-court leader for the Aurora girls basketball team, head coach Erika Greenberg simply knew her as a youth player that would come into the gym to shoot around.
Greenberg says she knew then that the Stask’s future was going to be a special one.
Now, Stask is a senior and fulfilling those thoughts her coach had about her all those years ago.
“I have known Sam for a long time. I knew she had a desire to be a great player, she had the work ethic, mentality and ability to do something special,” Greenberg said.
“I have enjoyed watching her throughout her journey, and I am so happy that all her hard work has paid off.”
Stask’s game has transformed over the last four years.
Entering the program as a freshman with a ton of potential, she found her way into the rotation as a spot-up shooter.
She still can still connect on shots at a high frequency, but Stask’s game is now about so much more.
Pick the characteristic and Stask has it covered.
“Sam is an extremely smart basketball player. She sees the floor well and is a great decision maker with the ball,” Greenberg said. “She is also very smart on defense, she uses angles and makes adjustments during the game.
Physically, Sam can definitely shoot the ball,” Greenberg added. “She is usually extremely consistent with her outside shooting, so teams have to know where she is at all times.”
Stask has grown into a player that can now create her own offense, but she has also become the team’s creative leader.
“Sam is the one who needs to create for others, and she handles pressure so well that it allows her to lead her team in the right direction.”
Last season, Stask averaged 12.6 points per game and connected on 26 3-pointers, letting her game do her talking as she takes her reserved personality onto the court with her.
“Sam is actually a very quiet person. She is not much of a vocal leader,” said Greenberg, who did admit that Stask has become more vocal this season. “Sam leads through her gameplay and her actions. She is a hard person to get to know, because she is pretty reserved, but over the last couple of seasons, she has opened up more and more. On the court, Sam’s personality does not change too much. She plays with a reserved demeanor as well.”
The subdued volume of her personality has not had any adverse impact on creating strong bonds with her teammates, though.
“Her teammates support her and enjoy playing with her,” Greenberg said. “Everyone jokes about always watching Sam when she has the ball, because they never know when she is going to pass it to them and they don’t want to miss it.”
Which is a glowing compliment for any guard and an indication that Stask has the ability to see the game one or two steps ahead of everyone else.
All the while, she keeps her Greenmen a step or two ahead of everyone else.