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Angel happy to lead scrappy New Trier

12/19/2012, 10:00pm CST
By Matt Harness mharness@pioneerlocal.com

Thanks to Aaron Angel’s unselfish play, New Trier has been able to form more of a compelete team this season.

There’s a good chance Aaron Angel doesn’t show up in the official scorebook after each game.

Thing is, he doesn’t care.

The New Trier senior isn’t at all consumed about scoring, the only numbers that show up in that omnipresent green book. 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 at Illinois-Chicago. “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 came into Thursday’s game against Evanston at Northwestern 7-2 overall and tied for first place in the CSL South at 3-0. “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,” he 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,” the coach 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.”

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