It’s not always easy to go from being the big fish to part of the supporting cast.
For former Huntsville High School basketball standout Jeremy LaDay, it’s all part of the learning process, transitioning from high school to the college game.
“It’s a little bit harder,” LaDay said in a phone interview on Sunday. “You just have to know your role on the team. In high school, my role was having to score. In college, my role is more about playing good defense.”
Instead of playing a bulk of minutes like he was accustomed to with the Hornets, LaDay is chipping in off the bench at Temple College. Though he doesn’t have the esteemed label of starter to his credit, the former Hornet is finding ways to contribute on both ends of the floor.
Playing in every game this season, except one that he missed due to an illness, LaDay is averaging more than 10 points a game, which puts him as the the team’s third-highest scorer, while collecting five rebounds and dishing out nearly two and a half assists per game.
“What we do is rotate a lot of guys in and out,” Leopards head coach Kirby Johnson said last week. “We don’t have just our five starters. We’ve got a lot of guys whose numbers are about the same.
“Guys that come here are used to being the stars (in high school) and are not necessarily the star or a starter here. That’s part of the situation in junior college. It takes an adjustment and Jeremy handled it well. He’s made that adjustment with us. I’m very pleased and glad that he’s here. He’s got some nice potential.”
Though LaDay would rather get more playing time, like any competitive player, the former Hornet knows what he has to get accomplished whenever he checks into the game.
“I know that I just have to go out and do what I need to do to help us win,” LaDay said.
Despite starting the season with 12 wins in their first 16 games, including a 2-1 mark to start conference play, LaDay and the Leopards have hit a rough patch recently.
Temple has lost four straight games, including a tough 90-72 loss to Hill College last Saturday, falling to 2-5 in conference play to put the Panthers tied for fifth place. Only the top four teams in the North Texas Junior College Athletic Conference will advance to the NJCAA Region V tournament.
“The first half of our conference games were tough because a lot of them were on the road and we’ve struggled on the road,” LaDay said. “The second half should be easier because a lot of our games will be at home.
“We should’ve won a few more games. We just didn’t finish. There were some games where we were up 11 at halftime and still lost. I think we’ll bounce back. We’re coming along well. None of us are selfish. I think we’ll turn it around.”
Temple College’s next game will be at Collin County Community College on Wednesday.