Brandon Wade starts his move just inside the top of the circle. He uses his killer crossover on Huron defender Devin Womack – only a freshman. Trying to guard the Skyline senior guard is difficult enough, but for a ninth-grader it’s an almost impossible task.
Womack actually does a good job staying with Wade as he drives down the lane but that half step difference is all the more experienced Eagle needs. There are no other Huron defenders near the basket to help as Wade throws up a half hook shot with his left hand. Womack makes contact, the ball goes in off the glass and the official blows his whistle.
And here comes the point. Wade doesn’t celebrate with a fist pump or any other form of flamboyant public display. But he does get his – and the Eagles – point across. Wade doesn’t get in Womack’s grill but he does get close enough to make sure the talented Huron guard knows “you can’t guard me” or some words to those effect.
Wade was in Womack’s shoes four years ago, playing varsity basketball as a freshman. Now a battle-tested, hungry and experienced player, Wade is leading his Eagles through an undefeated season, including Monday’s 58-49 victory over visiting Huron. And no one, so far, can guard Wade or any of his teammates for that matter.
Womack can certainly learn from what he saw Monday night. And what he saw – and even what he heard – is what he should take with him through his four years on varsity. Brandon Wade is all about showing and not telling. He isn’t about celebrating anything yet because he’s waiting for the right moment to celebrate – which could happen next month in East Lansing.
And that’s the way the Eagles are operating this season. It’s a workman-like approach that so far has them standing with the best in the state with a 15-0 record. They are dominating the talented SEC Red Division at 7-0 in the league. They don’t get caught up in small victories, only the big picture. While they may whisper in your ear “you can’t guard me,” they don’t show you up or get in your face or put you down.
They respect you, then they beat you.
Huron tried to slow things down Monday night against the talented Eagles. That was OK with Skyline. After a slow start, they started to execute their half-court offense. They showed patience and showed there is way too much experience and composure on their side of the court to get rattled.
Then, at the start of the third quarter they turned their defense up a notch. Forced some turnovers. And turned those turnovers into baskets and in just a matter of minutes had their double-digit lead. Skyline can win games in the 80s or the 50s – doesn’t matter to them.
The Eagles are soaring at the moment but they are not near their cruising altitude. While they are sitting in business class, going about their business, they will let you know on their way up just what they think of you but they will do it with (first) class and under the radar.
“You can’t guard me.”