Area basketball players making an impact without playing major minutes

Published 7:55 pm Monday, January 25, 2010

Their names don’t make headlines, they never get to take the big shot and their court time is limited but cherished.

They’re called reserves, scrubs, or even bench-warmers. But they should be called glue players, because they work hard and what they bring to the team together by bringing it something that can’t be measured with statistics.

Austin junior Scott Snyder, Southland senior Cameron Barnes, and Hayfield senior Cody Dietrich have all embraced the role of practicing hard and playing little for their respective boys basketball teams this season.

Those types of players are hard to find.

“It’s important to have guys that will work their butt off in practice, knowing they’re not going to get a lot of minutes,” Hayfield head coach Chris Pack said. “It’s invaluable and you can’t put a price on it. You need those guys to have a good team.”

Snyder, a guard for the Packers (4-7 overall), looks forward to every practice as a chance to push the starters. His motivation is to make them that much better in the long run.

“I’m just trying to work as hard as I can,” he said. “I like to play defense on T.J. (Fritz) and Jamaal (Gibson) and keep them working. I like the competitiveness and it’s fun to compete against other guys in practice.”

Austin head coach Kris Fadness said that Snyder brings a good blend of hustle and intelligence to practice. He can work hard and hand out tips at the same time.

“He’s passionate about basketball and it means a lot to him. He’s a hard working kid, he’s a good athlete and he helps us get better in practice,” Fadness said. “With Scott, he’s got some potential to play next year.”

Dietrich, a forward for the Vikings (6-8 overall), gets to do a lot of impersonations in practice. He’s usually trying to play like Hayfield’s future opponents to give the Vikings a solid scouting report.

While he enjoys working hard, he’d still like to play, but Hayfield’s close-knit team has made it enjoyable for him.

“(Practicing) is all right, but I’d rather play,” Dietrich said. “I stay out for my friends and I love basketball. We’re pretty tight as a team and that makes it a lot easier.”

Pack said that Dietrich is one of the first guys he looks to get into the game once the score gets lop-sided one way or the other.

“You want to reward him for all of the hard work he’s put in,” Pack said.

Barnes, a forward for the Rebels (7-6 overall), continues to work hard in every practice to push his team as hard as he can. He loves basketball for its speed and loves to get in games.

“It seems like I should play, but it just doesn’t work out that way,” Barnes said. “It’s fun to practice with the starters. It’s hard work, but it’s fun. I try and help out the team as best I can and I support my team.”

Southland head coach Jon Thalberg said that he couldn’t ask for much more out of Barnes.

“He’s always got a positive attitude and he’s always willing to do what’s asked of him,” he said. “I can’t say enough about him. Not everybody can be the star and get all the playing time, but he truly is a part of this team and he’s pleasant to have around.”

While the players at the top of the rotation look forward to the 24 games out of the year. The reserves look forward to the 60 or so practices each year. They show up, they work hard, and they come back for more.

Fadness said those types of players are crucial to a team.

“It’s an important role and maybe we don’t tell those guys enough how much they mean to us,” he said. “You need guys that are high character kids that are willing to work hard and fill that role in practice.”

After all, practice does make perfect.