Head Men's Basketball Coach – Pratt Cannoneers
I’ve been meaning to write about Jesper Fast of the New York Rangers for about two weeks now, since I read this excellent article about him in The New York Times.
On top of having a terrific last name for a player who bases his game on speed, grit and grind, Fast proved to be a valuable and ever-improving member of the Rangers’ offense as they progressed within a game of the Stanley Cup Finals.
As Game 3 of the NBA Finals gets underway, it’s hard not to find similarities in Matthew Dellavedova of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Neither player is listed first on the stat sheet or the media wish list. They just work hard, do their job and win games for their teams.
They are the ultimate role players.
Certainly we can’t discredit the effect LeBron James’ triple-double had on the Cavaliers win in Game 2 of the Finals, but I think we can safely say that the Cavs are headed back to Cleveland down 0-2 if not for their Australian point guard. His offensive rebound and free throws provided the margin of victory and defensively he held Steph Curry to his least efficient game in a very long time.
And like the NY Times article write about Fast, he doesn’t necessarily score all the goals, but just slightly out of the camera frame, he’s the hardest working skater who is pivotal in setting up the goal. If Rangers’ coach Alain Vignault doesn’t promote Fast to the second line, the Blueshirts are probably sent home and golfing way earlier. Fast and his line contributed three of the most crucial goals of the squad’s come from behind series win over the Washington Capitals.
Players like Fast and Dellavedova don’t get the press that they deserve. Sure, the New York Times will write one article on you or the NBA on ESPN folks will fawn over the gritty, hard working backup point guard once Kyrie Irving is injured, but in general glue-guys and role players need more recognition.
I’m as guilty of it as any one. I fawned over LeBron and Steph, breaking down their top 10 highlights from the playoffs. But it would be phony of me to not recognize these role players, seeing as how much we harp at Bard about empowering every player, starter or third-string, to go out and make players.
Everybody pretends to be LeBron James or Kobe Bryant in their driveway growing up, but maybe it’s time for kids to work on being Matthew Dellavedova. He’s almost as valuable, in a different way.
So here’s to Jesper Fast and Matthew Dellavedova, the ultimate role player.