Some coaches like to refer to them as ‘glue’ players. Other coaches might prefer the term role player.
You know those basketball players who aren’t seeking the spotlight.
Instead, they’re content to do a lot of the dirty work and little things that more often than not makes the difference between winning and losing.
At first glance, George Diekelman seems to fit that definition to a tee for the Stevens Point Area Senior High boys basketball team.
Ask Diekelman how he views himself, and he has a simple take.
“I’m a point guard and shooting guard, although I probably like playing shooting guard more,” Diekelman said. “We all have our roles and do what it takes to win. It really changes from game to game.
“If teams are face-guarding Trev (Panthers freshman point guard Trevor Anderson), I might have to hunt shots a little more or get in the lane and create shots for other people.”
He has proven he can knock down the occasional 3-pointer for the Panthers. Diekelman isn’t afraid to dive on the court for a loose ball or mix it up in the paint to grab a 50/50 rebound.
Need someone to lock down on the other team’s top scorer or provide some help defense in case a teammates loses their guy, he’s your guy.
His coach might want to add that he’s a winner, or at least does everything he can to put SPASH in a position to win.
A perfect example came Jan. 19. With the Panthers trailing Eau Claire Memorial by two points entering the fourth quarter, Diekelman scored 10 of the first 11 points to help them turn the game around.
“I love the kid,” said SPASH coach Scott Anderson after a 52-44 win over the Old Abes. “George is what you call a worker. He’s going to 100 percent go after it, and that’s what he brings to us. I’m a big believer you get what you earn and deserve, and he worked extremely hard this offseason.”
Diekelman honed his game playing AAU basketball over the summer with the Wisconsin Blizzard — something he has done since 8th grade.
After seeing considerable playing time as a sophomore, the 6-foot-1 guard wanted to put in the work necessary to take his game to another level this season.
“(AAU) is a faster pace and a lot better competition that you see around central Wisconsin,” Diekelman said. “I needed to work on my game for the igh school season, and experiment with different styles of play.”
He ranks third on the team in scoring at 7.9 pointers per game. More importantly, he’s been an instrumental part of the Panthers success to this point.
They came into this week sporting a 16-1 record, unbeaten in the Wisconsin Valley Conference season at 7-0 and ranked sixth among Division 1 schools in the state by The Associated Press.
Led by the freshmen tandem of Trevor Anderson (19.5) and Sam Hauser (9.5), the veteran guard was optimistic SPASH could put together a good season due in part to their success in summer leagues.
Now the key is making sure the season ends as well as it’s started.
“We just need to play our game and usually that is good enough to win. It’s important we stay as a team and just keep playing and put together a whole four quarters every game,” Diekelman said.