By Tom Nader
Publisher and Editor
Winning teams make winning plays.
It seems like such a simple idea.
That is not always the case, though.
But in order to make winning plays, you need winning players.
Players that are willing to do whatever it takes no matter how big or small the spotlight is for their efforts.
Some of those players are more special than the average player.
Some players are willing to leave some skin on the floor.
Some players are willing to step in to take painful charges.
Some players are willing to be the screen-setter so that their teammate gets the attention for scoring the basket.
Some players are willing to cheer loudly from the bench, wishing they were on the court, but ultimately just happy to see the team succeeding no matter who is making it happen.
Some players are able to maintain positive body language as a primary source of leadership — even when everything has gone against them for minutes.
These are players that very well may be good scorers, too, but have the special ability to make their impact felt on a game without the need to score.
They are the extra coach on the floor.
They are the strong communicators amongst their peers.
They are the ones that believe anything is possible, then get their teammates to believe the same thing.
They are the glue that holds teams together no matter what the circumstances.
With that, I proudly present my 13th annual All-Glue Guy Basketball Team.
5-foot-10, junior, guard
Coach Cody Calhoun: “Ben has to do a lot of different things for us, and we often ask him to play out of position at both ends of the floor. He will often guard the other team’s best perimeter player, but will also have to guard a post player at times, depending on matchups. Offensively, he plays all over the floor for us and does a lot of different things that don’t always show up in box scores.
“His natural position is as a guard, but sometimes he lines up as a forward and doesn’t let it impact his play. He always plays with 100 percent effort on both ends of the floor and sets the energy level for the rest of our guys.”
6-foot, senior, forward
Coach Josh Jakacki: “Jimmy has a championship mindset. He is as selfless as they come. He has been a major contributor to our program and has stepped up this season as a leader. He’s working everyday to get better and to push his teammates. He’s been phenomenal on the bench with his positivity and hasn’t said one word about the change in his role from last season. Our success is because of players like Jimmy, who take ownership and responsibility. As a staff, we are thrilled he has continued to grow and do whatever is asked to help us on and off the court.”
6-foot-1, senior, guard
Coach Alex Blake: “Nick is the guy who showed up this summer ready to work into the lineup wherever he fit. When we tell him to do something, he never asks why. He wants his teammates to succeed every chance they get. Nick is the type of player that all coaches look for year in and year out.”
6-foot, junior, guard
Coach Andy Olesky: “Tyler is the consummate team player. Whether he starts or comes off the bench is of no concern to him, as he will strive to do all the little things like setting screens, boxing out, hustling, making the extra pass and crashing the glass to help his team out. Tyler’s coach ability is also amazing. He has taken to what he is being taught and is doing his best to apply it each and every day. He is a huge part of our team.”
5-foot-10, senior, guard
Coach Curtis Black: “Gavin is our unsung leader and captain, without a doubt. He is a player who does whatever it takes to help his teammates succeed. Whether it is by words of encouragement or by doing the dirty work, his attitude and effort is what Kent Roosevelt basketball is all about. There are games where we need a key spark from him off the bench or games where he may not play at all, but his voice, body language, attitude and level of effort never change. A majority of what he does for our program won’t show up in stat sheets or record books, but what he brings is a level of passion for his teammates and program that I will use as a reference for the rest of my coaching career.”
6-foot-4, junior, forward
Coach Russ Swartz: “Nick is our glue guy, because he does a lot of different things for our team. He is not only our post player on offense, but because he is our tallest player, he has to guard our opponent’s best inside player, which means he is usually out-sized. He is very good at playing bigger than he is, because he plays with what I refer to as the three As: He is active, athletic and aggressive, which is why he is averaging 12 rebounds and three blocked shots per game. He also does a good job of altering shots around the basket. In one of our last games, Nick had 18 rebounds, with 11 of them coming at the offensive end.”
6-foot-2, senior, guard
Coach Bobby Staudt: “Joe does all the little things that don’t show up in the box score. He is the anchor of our defense and is one of our best leaders. He leads by example by the way he plays and by the way he accepts coaching. He worked hard in the off-season to develop his game and to get faster and stronger. Our younger guys can learn a lot by the way Joe approaches the game.”
5-foot-11, junior guard
Coach Matt Dillon: “The coaching staff is very pleased with Zach’s improvement. His work ethic has improved and his skill level is on the rise in every aspect of the game. He has been very attentive at practices, and he has gained knowledge of how to be a more complete basketball player. Coach (Zeddie) Pollock has been instrumental in helping Zach become a better defensive player and, more importantly, Zach has been like a sponge in soaking up that knowledge. Zach is a true team player.”
6-foot-1, junior, forward
Coach Nick Marcini: “Jackson brings it everyday. He is a leader through his work ethic in practice and games. He is undersized in his matchup every game, having to guard the other team’s bigs. It is fun to watch him battle and succeed for the team.”
5-foot-9, junior, guard
Coach Jason Wise: “Landon makes us go defensively. Coaches want to have the most hated guy in the league when you talk about defense and that’s Landon. He is that guy that when you turn around, he is always there. He has the “it” factor when you talk about players. He will do everything you ask of him and doesn’t care about his own stats. He is the guy that you want all of your players to be like.”