June 25, 2016

Mostly clear

Boys basketball: A ‘good’ break, Beck uses downtime to hone shooting

High school basketball players look everywhere for inspiration. Buckeye’s Garrett Beck owes his play to a broken leg and a chair.

A solid baller for the Bucks throughout his years, the 6-foot-1 Beck was very good heading into the season. Now, the senior forward is elite.

Buckeye’s Garrett Beck turned a tough break into something positive over the summer. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

Buckeye’s Garrett Beck turned a tough break into something positive over the summer. (GAZETTE PHOTO BY RON SCHWANE)

Much of his success this season can be attributed to the pain and anguish he had to deal with over the summer, when he broke his left leg in an AAU game.

Out for 10 weeks, Beck had no choice but to watch the game from the sideline.

“It was the worst having to go to every game and watch them play without me,” Beck said. “I kept myself in the game by lowering the hoop to 8½ feet and sitting in a chair and working on my form for literally hours after games.

“Honestly, I think it made me a ton better. I actually came out of my broken leg shooting the best I’ve ever shot in my life — just because I form shot on the chair all the time.”

Those shots from a seated position ranged from 5 to 15 feet. Now, it seems Beck can hit from virtually anywhere on the court.

He heads into the week leading the Patriot Athletic Conference Stars Division at 18.3 points per game. That’s good enough for fourth in Medina County, behind Medina’s Craig Randall (21.6), Brunswick’s Ryan Badowski (21.3) and Highland’s Brogan Scott (19.4).

His average is up almost five points from his junior season and is a testament to the hard work he put in.

“One of the things with Garrett is we wanted him to be a leader a little more than he was last year, and (his injury) was the perfect opportunity to show that,” Bucks coach Matt Saunders said. “When we struggled in the summer, he was the guy that got things going.

“He saw he could contribute more than just as a player. He really wanted to be good. He’s becoming less and less worried about statistics. He’s more about the team.”

That’s undeniable, as Beck is close to becoming the third Buckeye player to join the 1,000-point club. With 928 points, the goal of joining Garth Wurstle (1,082, 1978-81) and Hank Frambach (1,025, 1954-58) is very attainable. So, too, is becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer.

But while Beck would very much love to join that company, he’s more about his team and getting the most bang out of the Bucks.

“It was in the back of my mind before the season started,” Beck said. “I knew I had a chance of reaching it. I knew I was getting closer and closer. It’s more of a team thing, but I do care a little bit about it. It would be a big deal.

“Hopefully, I go down as one of the top scorers and one of the better players that went to Buckeye. But I’d rather they look at the team and say that we were the team that had the best record and went the farthest in the playoffs.”

That attitude is not lost on his teammates. Forward Jeff Miller is averaging 15.2 points, while center Chris Vogt comes it at 10.1.

Some of that comes from a strong concentration on rebounding, but the bulk of it happens because of Beck’s unselfish play.

“He’s great,” Miller said. “Starting in seventh and eighth grade, I’m pretty sure he could have won half the games alone. He took us to the championship and averaged twice what the other team averaged in points. He’s probably the most competitive kid I know.”

As for the next step, only Division III Heidelberg has recruited Beck to this point. Others will likely follow, but if they don’t, Beck has visions of walking on at West Point.

“He’s amazing,” Saunders said. “The amount of effort he’s put in the last four years is unmatched from the players I’ve had.”

Contact Brad Bournival at sports@medina-gazette.com.