Running the point
y Matthew Ondesko: Managing Editor
Photos: Medaille University Athletics
Being a point guard on any basketball team is like being the quarterback of a football team. Every plays runs through you, and you are the one making the decisions that can make or break the game.
Having a strong point guard puts your team in a better place. They are the general on the court, the leader. They are the extension of the coach. All the players look to them for guidance when things are going good or bad.
Medaille University senior Erin Hardick has always been a leader. Ever since she stepped foot on the court at Sacred Heart Academy, Hardick has taken that responsibility upon herself to lead her teams.
When she decided the attend Medaille, the three-sport start, was an instant hit on the hardwood. As the years have gone on, Hardick has grown more and more into a leadership role, where she hardly comes off the court.
“I have always been one to lead by example, but the past few years I have made an effort to speak up and be a vocal leader as well. As a point guard it is important to be confident and bring that leadership to the team in multiple ways,” stated Hardick. “I love being point guard and being able to take on that responsibility to read the defense and call out a play. It is something I take upon myself to want that control and to be able to lead my team out there on the floor.”
Leading is something Hardick has been doing all season long. Through eight gamers, Hardick is leading the team in scoring (17 points per game), second on the team in rebounds per game and leads her club in assists.
Her performance this year is all about trusting herself. Trusting that all the hard work she out in during the offseason, and in the years prior, is finally paying off. Having trust in her game has allowed Hardick to be more aggressive on the offensive end of the court.
“It’s all about trusting yourself. To be successful individually and as a team, I need to be aggressive and trust myself to make the right decision based on how the defense reacts and what my teammates are doing around me,” stated Hardick. “There are going to be times I make mistakes, but once I built that trust in myself, it gave me the confidence that I will make the right decision the next time down the floor.”
What makes her play even more impressive is Hardick never comes off the court. She is averaging more than 36 minuets per game. Logging those kind of minutes can be tiring on anyone. Hardick, however, is ready for those types of minutes. She trains to never come off the court.
“With playing a lot of minutes, it is important that I don’t overreact and let myself get too high or too low. Remaining steady is something that I believe helps me to stay mentally strong,” stated Hardick. “Playing lots of minutes can also be physically taxing which means is important that I eat enough and get the proper nutrition I need to fuel my body. Going to our trainer Evyn is something I also do to make sure I am getting the treatment I need to keep my body healthy.”
Healthy is something that Hardick has been throughout her career. Sure, everyone gets the normal bumps and bruises that go with being an athlete. But, Hardick, knock on wood, has been that player that you can consistently put in the lineup day in and day out.
Her play last year garnered her third team league honors. The honors by the conference just showed how far Hardick has come with her college career in a short period of time.
“It truly was an honor to be chosen for an all-conference team,” stated Hardick. “I think it represents how far I have grown since my college career began, and it motivates me to continue to work hard towards my goals.”
Watching Hardick on the court, you will notice that it’s not all about scoring for the senior. Her game has really blossomed to an all-around performance. Sure she can take over games when she needs to.
But, her visions is second to none on the court. She can pick out her teammates with the perfect pass. She can drive the lane or shoot the three, which makes her hard to defend against. On the defensive end of the court, Hardick has put the time in to become a better a better defender, and is has shown off in spades.
“Since freshman year, I really have improved all around,” stated Hardick. “My decision-making has been better, my ability to confidently run the team as point guard, and my ability to read the defense as well. Coming into this year, I especially made it a focus to improve my shot.”
If you know anything about Hardick there is no such thing as an offseason. Basketball is her main sport, but the senior also runs cross country and plays lacrosse. That’s not an easy task for a student-athlete having to juggle three sports while getting her studies done, but she does it.
“Playing three sports in college is definitely can be challenging. In the fall when I had cross-country practice, fall ball for lacrosse, and pick up & lift for basketball, it was important to communicate will my coaches on how my body is feeling,” stated Hardick. “Nutrition is something that I also have to take into account when asking so much out of my body. It is also important for me to plan out time to do my schoolwork so I don’t get overwhelmed or overstressed, which can lead to me getting warn down.”
Plus, she just doesn’t take up a spot on the cross country team in the fall. Hardick was a very accomplished runner during her time with the Mavericks. As a junior she grabbed a bunch of first place finishes.
This past season, Hardick earned a second place finish at the Daniel Waker Invite, and ran her fastest time at the Harry F. Anderson Invite.
“To be a good runner, you must put in the commitment to training. With races over 3.5 miles, you have to be willing to train longer than that. I joined the cross-country team my junior year here at Medaille,” stated Hardick. “I had brought up wanting to do it my sophomore year, and with it having a low risk of injury, it was something that my coaches could get on board with. I essentially chose to run because I ran in high school and knew that I would be able to contribute to the team.”
In the spring, or Western New York second winter, Hardick trades in her basketball sneakers for cleats and heads outside to help the lacrosse team. Hardick won’t lie, the transition from basketball to lacrosse is a tough one only because of the temps.
You go from a temp controlled gym to 35 degree weather outside, pretty much for the entire lacrosse season. Another tough transition is going right from the end of the basketball season to the start of lacrosse without a real break in between to let your body rest and heal up.
“It’s definitely a change getting out there in the cold and bundling up after being in the gym. With lacrosse starting as basketball season is finishing up, there is no break for me, it’s an instant switch I have to make. Lacrosse is similar to basketball in a couple aspects so it’s really just about getting back out there and being ready to go,” stated Hardick. “The biggest adjustment from basketball to lacrosse is the field size. Although my endurance is not much of an issue, it takes an adjustment to apply my skills on a field where there is much more space to work.”