By Matt Nestor
Prep Sports Reporter
Ian Carlson has been on the varsity basketball squad for Belvidere for four years. He is the biggest player in the NIC-10, has started some key games and played some key moments for the Bucs in the past.
For a lot of guys, as a senior, it could be tough to have to come off the bench as a sixth man. But for Carlson, he views it as a great opportunity.
“I like coming off the bench,” he said. “I feel like I bring a different energy when I come off the bench. As the sixth man, I come off with a good energy and people just feed off it.”
Carlson is an emotional player who has sometimes let his emotions get the best of him in the past with technical fouls and chippy moments during games.
This season, he has harnessed that emotion as a source of energy off the bench, providing a different look with a 6-foot-7-inch player coming off the bench as a sixth man to provide toughness, rebounding and sound defense in the paint.
His selfless attitude in stepping into and embracing the sixth man role for Belvidere is a large reason why they have won a school-record 11 conference games, sit on top of the NIC-10 and are on the verge of a 20-win season.
“Ian is a guy that a lot of people don’t give the credit he deserves,” Belvidere Head Coach Aaron Pearson said. “Every day, Ian comes with a great attitude. He doesn’t get the credit he deserves.”
Nights like he had in a win against Rockford Boylan Catholic are more becoming the norm for Carlson as his senior season winds down. The box score only shows 7 points and 7 rebounds, but the heavy minutes he played because of foul trouble were huge with a short bench, especially since he was able to control the paint when the Bucs trailed.
“The box score might not show everything, but him being a part of this team and doing the little things is a big reason why we won this game,” Pearson said after his team’s 68-62 win at Boylan. “His minutes for (Kane Steger) and Joe Beyers was big. He stepped up, and I’m proud of the kid.”
Trailing by as much as 14 in the third quarter, teammates Byers and Josh Hauser did the heavy lifting on the offensive end to bring Belvidere back. But it was Carlson, blocking and altering shots, and limiting Boylan to one possession on the boards, who played just as big a part in leading his team back.
Always demonstrative on the floor, Carlson has become a leader in huddles as well. His example as a great teammate has helped bring his team together and put them on the cusp of the NIC-10 title.
“We have to keep playing hard as a team,” Carlson said. “That is what we are doing right now, and it feels good to be on top.”
From the Feb. 13-19, 2013, issue