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La Grange Park, IL - Friday, February 8, 2013: Nazareth Academy's Chris Swade (20) guards Carmel Catholic's Billy Kirby (24). | Steve Johnston~for Sun-Times Media
Playing basketball at Nazareth is definitely a family affair for Chris Swade, a junior on the Roadrunners varsity team.
Swade’s father (Terry) and uncle (Alan) are both graduates of the LaGrange Park school, and were both standout basketball players for Nazareth during the mid-’80s.
Terry was inducted into the 2009-10 Athletic Hall of Fame class at Nazareth, and is 14th on the school’s scoring list and eighth in assists. Alan is the fourth leading scorer and seventh top rebounder.
If Friday’s game against East Suburban Catholic foe Carmel was any indication, Swade will start gaining ground on dad and uncle on the school’s career scoring charts. The southpaw knocked down four 3-pointers and scored a varsity-high 15 points in the second half when Nazareth (10-12, 1-6) dropped a 79-75 decision to the Corsairs.
As one can imagine, there have been a few father-and-son battles on the family driveway over the years.
“He (Terry) has beaten me a lot, ever since sixth grade when we started playing one-on-one,” said Swade. “I am finally starting to catch up to him, starting to beat him a couple of times now. He cannot really guard my 3-point shot and he is a little stronger than me, so he beats me down in the post and on rebounding.”
Swade saw limited action at the start of the season, but has increased playing time recently. He was the first sub off the bench against Carmel.
“He has been patient with his playing time, he has been a great kid and has been working super hard,” said Nazareth coach John Bonk. “He is going to play a lot of basketball for us here.
“He is a tough kid, he is not a real strong kid right now, but he plays tough. In the offseason, we are going to work hard to get him stronger. He has earned the minutes, because he comes every day in practice and works at it.”
His teammates have also noticed that Swade’s practice work habits have started to pay off during games.
“Chris, he started the year and did not really play much at all,” said senior guard Dan Kienzle. “But in practice, he is the hardest worker. Even if he is not with the first team, he is with the second team and he is always ‘like’ the (opponents’) best player. He is always the guy on the other team that we are trying to mimic.
“He is always working, he is always hard to guard, and is going hard 100-percent of the time.”
Swade, who lives in Western Springs with his three sisters, including two (Sarah, Katie) who attend Nazareth, admitted he had hoped for more game time earlier in the season.
“It was hard (not playing), but I knew that if I kept working, I would get my minutes,” Swade said. “I think that really paid off for my patience, not showing any emotion about it. I think it (success) will give me even more confidence in the games and even in practice. It will help me get better, and it proves to me what I can do on the court.”