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Elmwood Park junior Eddie Amparan (center) looks to pass the ball between Northtown senior James Paul-Emile (right) and Northtown sophomore Rommelle Claudel during a varsity basketball game at Francis Parker School in Chicago on Monday, Nov. 19, 2012. | R
Whether he’s coming off the bench to provide an offensive spark or playing a starting role, Elmwood Park’s Eddie Amparan knows he always will have at least one person he can count on for support.
Before each game, Amparan’s girlfriend writes words of encouragement on his hand to let him know she’s there to back him in spirit while he’s on the basketball court. Friday’s message was “Good luck, babe,” and though it didn’t help produce a victory for the 7-16 Tigers, Amparan again proved he belongs in the starting lineup.
“I usually would wear a lucky bracelet or have my girlfriend write something on my hand for a game,” Amparan said. “I seem to do well every time she does that, so now she does it most every game. It makes me feel good to know she’s in my corner rooting for me.”
The 5-foot-10 junior just recently earned his late-season starting spot with the Tigers varsity and showed his progress with 10 points, three rebounds and two steals in a loss last week to Glenbard South. Amparan said he continues to work hard daily to maintain his current status on the squad.
“Every night I go in my basement and dribble with tennis balls to practice my ball handling because I don’t think it has been that good the past couple years,” Amparan said. “I go hard in practice every day with the team and I try to push them as much as I can.
“I think my ball handling is getting better and my shooting has improved. I push it as much as I can in practice and try to get them (teammates) to play with me at the Civic Center after practice. I spend a lot of time trying to get better and get my team the best it can be.”
Elmwood Park head coach Mike Wasielewski said he is pleased with the progress of Amparan, and has high hopes for him the remainder of this season and next.
“Ed has been starting the past few games and he gives us a guy who is pretty athletic,” Wasielewski said. “He can do a lot of things for us, such as rebound and drive to the basket. He also plays good defense. He has learned to slide his feet and get a pass deflection and stay with his man.”
Senior teammate Elliott Perez, the Tigers’ leading scorer, said he is impressed with Amparan’s game for a variety of reasons.
“Eddie is very fast in everything he does, and he’s a great shooter, great ball handler and a great defender most of all,” Perez said. “I think he is going to be one of the leaders next year on this team.”~.