SANTA FE – When Ty Vasek put up 34 points for Santa Fe in a road game at Texas City earlier this month, he had to be told afterward how many points he’d scored.
The senior is having a spectacular season and averaging about 20 points a game, but Vasek puts in the extra hours and practice for his team, not his stat line.
“I can go in and score 30 points, but if we didn’t win the game, it really doesn’t mean too much to me,” he said.
The Indians didn’t win that matchup in Texas City, and Santa Fe has struggled this season, so far going winless in District 24-4A competition.
That record doesn’t reflect how close many of the games have been, and doesn’t reflect the effort and talent of this year’s squad, head boys basketball coach Ryan Campbell said.
Santa Fe’s early struggles have done nothing to take the heart out of the Indians or Vasek, who puts in long hours outside of practice to work on his game.
If Vasek’s been having trouble with his free throw shooting, he’ll head to the court by himself and shoot 50, 75, 100 shots from the free throw line.
If he’s not content with his ball handling, he’ll work on his dribble until it’s improved.
“That’s the benefit of having a kid like Ty,” Campbell said. “He’s that rarity where your hardest worker is also your best player.”
Vasek first picked up a basketball when he was 5 years old, and has hardly put it down since. He played soccer as a kid and baseball in high school, but he always thrived in basketball, making the varsity squad when he was a sophomore.
It didn’t take long for Vasek to prove his mettle with the more experienced players on the team.
“You have to earn the respect,” he said. “Those guys haven’t seen anything out of you yet, and you have to let your game speak for itself.”
His game speaks loudly. A point guard at heart, Vasek also stepped into a shooting role for Santa Fe early on.
His play is in part inspired by his favorite NBA player, Oklahoma City point guard Russell Westbrook.
Vasek’s no slouch under the rim either, averaging more than six rebounds per game and helping out wherever his team needs him.
Santa Fe’s playoffs hopes have faded, but that hasn’t stopped the team from approaching every game left on the schedule with passion and drive, Campbell said.
The Indians are looking forward to spoiling someone else’s season.
“We are embracing the role of spoiler,” Campbell said. “It allows us to play loose and have some fun. You’ve got to love the drive.”
It’s Vasek’s last season in a Santa Fe jersey, and he has no immediate plans to play at Texas State University, where he will attend college in the fall.
However, the Indians aren’t done yet, and neither is Vasek.
There’s plenty of basketball to come.
WHO: Ty Vasek, a senior at Santa Fe High School
WHAT: The 6 foot, 1 inch point guard averages 20 points per game
NEXT GAME: The Indians host Ball High at 7:30 p.m. today