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Hinsdale Central's bench during the boys basketball game in Oak Park Saturday Jan. 26, 2013 | James C. Svehla~for Sun-Times Media
Hinsdale Central’s Tanner Makris has not been on the court for the Red Devils this season.
But he still has made significant contributions to a team that on Saturday climbed to the top of the West Suburban Silver standings with a 53-45 victory over Oak Park-River Forest.
Makris, along with seniors Sam Jones, Ian McKee, Joe Monat and Evan Blust, and juniors Jacob White, Max Hartzman, Kevin Nelson, Ryan Scales and Grant Lillard, are part of a group that does not see significant playing time, but has played a major role in this season’s success.
“We have the best group of kids; we have great kids that are very unselfish,” said Red Devils coach Nick Latorre. “It is really a neat dynamic. Tanner, in particular, really is one of our team leaders, and it is rare that you have one of your team leaders be a kid that, right now, is unavailable because of his injury.
“It is kind of cool, it is kind of different. I think it really creates a great atmosphere, and the kids really seem to like each other.”
Makris is a senior from Hinsdale who dislocated his shoulder and tore ligaments during offseason workouts. He practices and participates in all the non-contact drills and hopes he might get cleared to play next month on Senior Night.
“We are the guys who work real hard in practice, but do not always get to see the floor in games,” said Makris, who is the PA announcer for the baseball team and wants to attend either University of Southern California or Syracuse next year to study broadcast journalism. “We like staying into (the game) and kind of having a good time, but staying serious at the same time. We are cheering, being real loud on defense, trying to get into the other team’s heads.”
The bench made sure to announce its presence Saturday whenever the OPRF student section ramped up the volume of its cheers.
Another responsibility of the reserves is to simulate in practice some of the tendencies of upcoming opponents.
“At the end of practice, we always do 20 to 30 minutes of team segment, where the JV guys play as the other team,” Monat said. “We basically try our best to be the other team, to give our team a good look for the week.”
Monat knows that the work the second unit puts in at practice and on the bench during games is appreciated.
“They (starters) always complement us and tell us that we are doing a good job,” said Monat, who lives in Oak Brook. “And when we are not being loud (during games), they make sure we get loud. Because it is a key factor in the game, most people do not see that, though.”
Monat’s prep career will end at the close of the basketball season. He was also a slot receiver on the Red Devils’ football team this fall. He might major in chemical engineering and is considering attending Syracuse, Colgate or Minnesota next year.
Both sports are demanding, he said.
“Overall basketball (is tougher) because the in-season practices are much harder,” Monat said. “But summer football is really hard, with doubles (practices) and everything.”~.