Role players vital to Trevians’ strong start
Jack Morrissey (left) and New Trier's Aaron Rosen (right) battle for a rebound on Nov. 21 at Loyola in Wilmette. Rosen, along with fellow seniors Stas Banas and Aaron Angel, have been critical to the Trevians this season. | Buzz Orr~Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 28, 2013 2:43PM
WINNETKA — There’s a good chance Aaron Angel’s contributions don’t show up in the official scorebook after each game.
Thing is, he doesn’t care.
The New Trier boys basketball senior isn’t consumed with scoring, the stat that stands out when glancing at the omnipresent green books. The 6-foot-9 center is more concerned about boxing out, setting screens, taking charges and moving the ball around to open teammates.
“I am willing to do anything I can to help the team win,” said Angel, whose older brother, Austin, is a freshman walk-on with the Illinois-Chicago men’s basketball team. “I try to be an unselfish player.”
Angel is among a handful of Trevians who accept and execute their roles and successfully serve as complements to standout seniors Reid Berman and Steven Cook and junior Jordan Thomas, a three-year varsity veteran.
“That’s what makes an average team a good team,” said New Trier coach Scott Fricke, whose club improved to 8-2 overall and 4-0 in the CSL South with the 55-33 win over Evanston on Dec. 20. “Everyone knows his role. Some of the players do the dirty work. Some don’t get a lot of minutes, but they play hard and give everything they have.”
Angel, along with seniors Stas Banas and Aaron Rosen, is a two-year varsity player who’s seen his playing time increase exponentially this season. Angel and Banas, a 6-1 guard, are starters, while the 6-3 Rosen is one of the first players off the bench.
All three are happy to do their part.
“Reid, Steven and Jordan definitely are the three big players on our team, and they are the ones who have most of the stories written about them,” Banas said. “But you can’t count out the rest of us. We have a lot of guys who are big threats. No team should take us lightly.”
Expecting an enhanced role as a senior, Banas put in the time during the offseason. He worked with a personal coach at Deerfield-based Joy of the Game to improve his jump shot and ball-handling skills.
“I knew I was going to be more of a key player, so I needed to be a better all-around player,” Banas said. “Last year, I only came in for a few minutes to give a starter a rest.”
Fricke now sees Banas as someone who can contribute points, especially from the perimeter.
“If the other players are being keyed on, Stas will be rewarded,” Fricke said. “He was always very athletic, but knew he had to get better individually, get better at shooting.”
Meanwhile, Rosen is a player who does a little bit of everything. A guard growing up in the program, he’s shifted to more of a forward as he’s gotten taller.
Most importantly, he provides the Trevians a spark off the bench. He’s also one of the team’s best 3-point shooters.
“I think I bring a lot of energy to the court,” Rosen said. “I just do whatever the team needs me to do at the time.”