Athlete of Week: Addison Park, Lincoln Patriots
As a 6'7" junior forward, Addison Park is a big man with a multidimensonal game. Park loves to shoot outside from downtown and bring it inside to the basket when he's in the post for the Lincoln Patriots.
"He's spent a lot of time working on his game. He's developed a nice outside shot, which he loves to shoot," says head coach Jeff Halseth. "Now, he's getting more comfortable in the paint where we like to see him. He's finishing more shots and getting more physical as the season progresses. That's exactly what we want him to do."
Park has been playing hoops since his latter years of elementary school, and the way he discovered his love for the game is interesting.
"I was on a football team and they needed an extra guy in fourth grade. So, they asked me on their team."
Now, Park has developed chemistry with those guys on the hardwood, and as teammates, they really enjoy playing with each other.
"I've played with all these guys since fourth and fifth grade. I live by them, and they are my friends. Everyone's older brother has played before us, and we are trying to live up to their expectations."
Park's game has improved a lot from those days since playing as a fourth and fifth grader. As a junior now, it helps that he is one of the bigger guys.
"I've definitely got taller, that helps. I was one of the bigger kids in height, and weight. So, that helped me score and get down low."
His coach agrees with him, and he has seen Park's game improve from all aspects over the last couple of seasons.
"He's one of those guys that wants to play an inside and outside position. He's spent a lot of time working on ball handling skills, on his outside shot, and getting himself stronger and faster so he can develop an overall game. With him having his senior year left, he's got a lot left in him."
With a year left, the sky is the limit for Park. In his last two games, he's had two solid games, tallying a double-double last Thursday with 13 points and 10 rebounds against Washington. On Tuesday, the junior forward dropped 25 points and had seven rebounds against Roosevelt. He's making a ton of improvement, and his teammates look up to him as a leader when he's on the floor.
"The guys are looking to him as the go-to-guy right now. He's one of those players that when he gets the ball, he knows how to finish, " says Halseth.
Park enjoys his role as a leader when he's out there in his Patriots jersey. For Lincoln, he strives to make the team better while knocking down shots, and by talking to his teammates.
"Play hard and keep everyone with a positive attitude, so we can continue and move onto the next play and try to get some more wins."
The junior forward would love to get back on top, and climb the mountain to win a Class AA championship. However, he knows there is plenty of work that comes with that achievement.
"It means a lot because we were ranked No. 1 coming into the season. We definitely want try to get back to that and to the state tournament. We have to play together, trust each other, and play defense."
At the end of the day, Park loves the game of basketball because he gets to play with his friends, and loves winning and competing. When he's not playing, he's watching Paul George of the Indiana Pacers or Chandler Parsons of the Houston Rockets. In the offseason, he runs cross-country and track to stay in shape for basketball.