Local Teams are finding the going a little tough the first couple weeks of the new basketball season.
There have been some bright spots, however, so I look for things to get a little better as the season progresses. Paden City’s Aaron Heasley had a great start in the opening season win over Beallsville, Ohio when he lit them up for 30 points and hauled down 17 rebounds in the Wildcats’ 69-23 win.
I’ve been watching Heasley since he was a freshman. Back then he was sitting on the Wildcat bench as players like Kennedy Cain, Luke Cooper and older brother Zach Heasley dominated the court.
I saw something in this kid back then that you don’t often see today and that was a great attitude and desire to work hard to get better. Being a freshman on a team that is loaded with talent often times will discourage a player and cause him to quit. Not this one!
Every once in a while an athlete comes along that really wants to play and will do whatever it takes to get his chance. Sitting on the bench is never fun and lack of playing time often turns kids off to the sport. Heasley has shown he is different then most. Sitting on the bench not only made him work harder, it gave him the desire to prove he is worthy of leading the Wildcats.
Several times, I’ve said he has potential; “If he can learn to shoot off the dribble and not just be a spot up shooter, he’s going to be hard to stop.”
Sometimes it’s hard to read kids these days, but what I like about Heasley is he’s a fighter, who loves sports and wants to do well, not just for himself but for his team. He definitely has developed that jump shot and opposing teams better get out on him or he’ll light you up. Shooting is not his only game though, he can also play defense and at 6’1″ he’s a pretty good rebounder. He plays an all around good game, but the best thing is he’s not intimidated. The better the competition, the better he plays.
I don’t know how many games the Wildcats will win this year but with Heasley and senior mate Hayden Hizer, they certainly are fun to watch. Veteran coach Fred King always gets the best out of his players and this year will be no exception. Although they are a young team, they have kids who want to play and are not afraid to work together to make things happen. Heasley and Hizer will provide good leadership and these younger kids will continue to get better.
Friday night, they took on a much bigger and more experienced Valley team and ended up on the short end of a 49-42 game. I watched as these young Paden City kids struggled in the first half putting up only nine points, however, they held Valley to just 20 and never gave up.
The second half belonged to the Wildcats as they put up 33 points to Valley’s 29. Heasley came through with 21 points and nine rebounds along with three steals. He was ice cold from the floor most of the game, but that won’t happen very often. Both the Wildcats and the Silver Knights could have easily beaten Valley. The Knights let that one slip away and the Wildcats fought back to get to within three with a minute to play but missed a couple buckets at the end which could have won it.
I was impressed with the play of the undersized Wildcats as they battled the Lumberjacks even on the boards and forced several crucial turnovers with their defense.
We have some great athletes in our area, but as I’ve said before, great athletes are often the ones that are the least noticed. The great ones are those that stick it out when the going gets tough, the ones who are role players and don’t always get as much playing time as they want, but when their chance comes they make the most of it. I have always asked the question: “What’s the toughest -playing the whole game and hitting a basket or coming in cold off the bench and drilling the game winner?”
Not everyone can be a starter, but everyone can be a contributor. I’ve heard a lot of complaints lately about coaches being unfair. Some things I’ve heard may be true, but most are just ridiculous. Do you really think the coaches want to lose and that they are playing favoritism?
Most of the time if you’re not getting enough playing time it’s because you’re not performing or your not working hard enough or maybe you are just not good enough. Check it out – have you been last in drills, have you been late for practice, how’s your attitude or your work ethic? Do the coaches just not like you and are all the referees against you? Or could it possibly just be you!
Now listen, I have been around the block a few times and I know when a coach is playing favorites or just trying to win parent approval. I know just by watching a game whether a coach knows his talent and I can tell real easy if they know their job.
Coaches are human and they do make mistakes but of all the local coaches here in Tyler County and Paden City there isn’t any that play favorites and only a couple who don’t know what the heck they are doing. None of them however are basketball coaches at the High School level. We may not have the best in the state but we are far from having the worst. I make a point of talking to the coaches as often as I can without being a burden to them and they all care a great deal for their players.
The biggest problem we have comes from the stands. Most of it stems from jealousy. Every one wants their child or grandchild to be the star and there’s nothing wrong with that until it interferes with team play. It is the coach’s job to put the best team on the court or field they possibly can and to use all players as he/she sees fit to help the team achieve their goals.
Some kids should take a look at what Aaron Heasley accomplished last week after setting the bench for most of three years. Dedication and a desire to work for what you want makes a difference.