Photo by Heather Middleton
Diving for loose balls. Taking charges. Rebounding. The intangibles that they bring to their team usually do not show up on the stat sheet. They have embraced their role as their team's unsung heroes. Staff writers Derrick Mahone and Brian Paglia take a look at what Nikki Wilson, Jordan Enadeghe and Keith Colquitt mean to their Final Four teams.
Eagle's Landing, 6-2, Junior
What he does for the team: Colquitt is among the fraternity of players known as "defensive stoppers." He often guards the opponents' best offensive player, and his athleticism and length allows him to be effective regardless of the match-up. But Colquitt also is reliable on offense and is an asset in transition.
How he likes his role: "I've always been a defensive player. In middle school I was a defensive player, so it wasn't anything new. I'm used to that role. It can go unnoticed, but at the end of the day they talk about defense wins championships. As long as you get that victory, that's what's most important."
What coach Clay Crump says: "He's a very, very good defender. He's very agile and in the right place. He helps us out on the break. He gets out in transition. ... He's a smart kid, no excuses. You can always rely on him to do what he does every night."
Jonesboro, 6-3, Senior
What he does for the team: He usually guards the opposing team's best offensive player. The Cardinals can count on him for some needed rebounding and he can be a scoring threat. He played the same role at Forest Park before transferring this season to Jonesboro.
How he likes his role: "I like doing the dirty work. Every teams needs someone that is willing to get down and dirty. You can't be afraid to take a charge or dive for that loose ball. I love it. You have to be a tough guy to take a knock, and then come back strong."
What coach Dan Maehlman says: "Jordan is a very good basketball player. It is his first year with us, and it took him a little while to learn his role. He really fits the role we need as a scorer, rebounder and defender."
Forest Park, 6-0, Senior
What she does for the team: Defending and rebounding is the name of her game. She is not much of a scorer, but likes to pass the ball and get teammates involved. A tough defender who doesn't mind diving on the floor for loose balls.
How she likes her role: "I really feel appreciated by my teammates for what I do. I would rather get a rebound and kick it out to one of our guards than score. I see myself as the one who has to get the team going with my hustle. I have to be a leader for the team."
What coach Steven Cole says: "She is our muscle. She leads the team in rebounding and steals. She doesn't do it for the accolades, but she likes to win. No team can win without a person who is willing to make big sacrafices. She does whatever it takes to help us win."