PLAYING FOR JOSH

With his basketball team struggling, one of his best friends hospitalized and another fighting a knee injury, Columbus North senior wing Kooper Glick has a lot more to deal with than battling opponents on the hardwood.

The Bull Dogs’ season quickly is coming to an end, and Glick is doing what he can to provide leadership both on and off the court.

Once part of what coach Jason Speer called the team’s “Big Three,” Glick has been called upon to accept the role of his team’s premier player, while at the same time keeping the agonizing reality of his world in perspective.

Glick was asked if he could block out thoughts of senior star Josh Speidel’s tragic Feb. 1 car accident while he was playing in the games and trying to lead his team.

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He quickly said that blocking out thoughts of Speidel, who remains in a coma, was not an option, nor should it be.

“I definitely miss Josh out there,” Glick said. “It’s very hard. But I don’t try to block it out.

“We play for Josh. We don’t block it out. We take it in.”

The Bull Dogs are doing whatever they can to find the kind of strength that Speidel provided every single day. Often, that means looking toward Glick.

“A lot of us are very tired,” Glick said. “We are up nights thinking about Josh. We are at the hospital, talking to him, visiting with him. We want to be there for him.”

But then it eventually comes back to a scheduled basketball game, and the Bull Dogs dig deep to produce a competitive effort.

Although they have lost all four games since Speidel’s accident, they have been competitive in all the contests, including 64-55 loss to one of the state’s top teams, Bloomington South, on Feb. 6.

“We’re young,” Glick said of the way the Bull Dogs’ roster changed when Speidel and senior wing Trent Larson, who tore knee ligaments against Southport on Jan. 30, were lost to the team.

“That’s the thing that is standing out,” he said. “We might get Trent back as he tries to play through his injury, but we do know we have to be a defensive team, and we might have to slow it down.

“We have to lower our number of possessions because we can’t get the 25 points a game that we were used to getting from Josh.”

If Larson can get back in the lineup, Glick will have help from him, along with fellow seniors Vince Grana and Marquis Humes, to keep the team focused. Glick’s scoring average has climbed to 16.3 points a game even though opponents key on him.

He doesn’t consider his role as the main scorer as any big deal. He has a more important task.

“I just try to get our young guys better every day,” Glick said. “I encourage them to be the best they can. It’s up to our seniors to get them playing as well as possible.”

Speer said that Glick has been an awesome leader and that all his players have had a “tremendous attitude.” He said the pure competitive strength of Glick and Larson have been reasons the team has remained competitive through a difficult time.

“Kooper’s leadership has come to the forefront,” Speer said.

Pull Quote

“I definitely miss Josh out there. It’s very hard. But I don’t try to block it out. We play for Josh. We don’t block it out. We take it in.”

— Columbus North senior Kooper Glick