As the calendar has turned to 2020, games are going to be coming at you quick here in the month of January. The boys are nearing their midway point and the girls are coming down the home stretch to February’s postseason.
At the top of every roster, you are going to see familiar names and upperclassmen that have dug in to make their marks, but each roster has those girls and guys that want to be the next in line. A coach will tell you that by the turn of the year, they want their underclassmen playing more like upperclassmen; so here are five who may be doing just that: the underclassmen to watch here early in 2020.
LONDYNN BETTS, CONCORDIA LUTHERAN
Betts is a physical and laterally quick moving sophomore who could use more offensive seasoning on the junior varsity if Concordia had one. But they don’t, so she was bumped up to this level and has shined. You will only see her averaging 3.8 points per game, but she can afford to be passive in that area right now. She has a team best 2.2 steals per game and her presence as a perimeter defender has changed the way that almost every team has had to play against the Cadets.
CONNOR PENROD, DEKALB
Penrod had a coming out party on December 20 when his 21 points NEARLY helped DeKalb upset then unbeaten Norwell. Penrod played all 32 minutes and shot 9-of-12 from the field in the loss. Penrod is one of the area’s only true posts and has really come into his own as a sophomore. He is long and has started to use his body really well in pick and roll and traditional post play situations. Penrod could be a tough matchup down the stretch for a lot of teams, even into a loaded Sectional.
MOLLY STOCK, HOMESTEAD
We haven’t been shy about talking about this great underclass at Homestead and Molly Stock isn’t so shy anymore either. The difference in her demeanor from her first varsity appearance in the Spartans’ opener against Carmel and how she was during the SAC Holiday Tournament was huge. Stock may or may not be riddled with confidence but her play makes it seem like she has it in droves. Stock’s court vision has accelerated and she is having fun on the court, being able to mix it up however she is needed, as a scorer, distributor and defender as a freshman.
WILLIAM RICKERD, WHITKO
Mixed in with experienced senior leadership and a bounty of scoring possibilities, sophomore William Rickerd (pictured) has constantly proven to be a steady force for the Wildcats. Averaging 10.2 points and 6 rebounds for the Wildcats, Rickerd is a high level utility guy in the small Whitko rotation. Need a key three? Rickerd is capable. Need a second shot on a possession? Rickerd can come out of nowhere for a rebound. Not full of flash or flair, Rickerd is one of those workhorse kids that you want on the court as much as possible because of his steady hand.
EMILIA DIAZ, WAYNE
As Wayne tries to change their fortunes, freshman Emilia Diaz is a major pace setter. Averaging 5.5 points and a team high 2.6 steals per game, Diaz has a high motor that got even more attention in the Generals’ one game in the recent SAC Holiday Tournament. She is a speedster, who’s ability to get up court quick allows her to make decisions on what can happen with the Wayne offense. She is a willing shooter and can score, as seen in her career opener with 18 points against Canterbury.
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