COLUMBIA - In the year 1929, the NCAA introduced the charging foul in basketball. That same year the first Academy Awards were held and the first Oscar was awarded.
For Hickman senior Tyler Stevens, the two events have a lot in common.
Stevens is nicknamed Shakespeare for his ability to draw charging calls for his team.
“If a player keeps throwing his shoulder into you and the refs are not calling it, then you have to add in a little bit of your own assistance to make it a little more obvious for them,” Stevens said.
The seniors on last year’s Kewpies boys basketball team gave Stevens the nickname. He said the name change was gradual and that it came from his Oscar worthy acting on the court.
“My teammates always say I should get the Oscar for best performance,” Stevens said. “I think they are fouls sometimes, but you could say I exaggerate a little bit.”
Stevens says the acting that goes along with taking a charge is not only to get the referee’s attention, but also toget inside of the opponent’s head.
“A charge gets me going because it shows me that the player is going to be frustrated,” Stevens said. “After you take a charge, the next time they decide to drive full speed to the lane, they are at least going to be aware that I’m in there.”
Stevens says taking a charge is an important part of any basketball game and is something he tries to do every time he steps onto the court.
“My goal every game is to take a charge,” Stevens said. “There have been a lot of nights this year where I have had multiple charges, but my goal is to at least get one a game.”
Hickman assistant coach Rod Kelly says taking a charge is about getting your feet set and being in the right position.
“Help side defense is the main thing to taking a charge and Tyler does a great job at that,” Kelly said.
When trying to take a charge, Stevens saysthere is a difference between guards and forwards.
“With a guard, if you take a charge, the next time they come into the lane they’ll look first to pass it off,” Stevens said. “But the forwards usually get frustrated and come right back at me. A lot of the time, that’s when the acting comes into play.”
Stevens says he has overcome getting nervous about taking a charge.
“It takes a special kind of person to take a charge,” Stevens said. “You have to have a little confidence, a little gusto. You just have to hope you don’t get hurt.”
However,Stevens saysgetting hurt is the least of his concerns when trying to take a charge.
“There is no way I’m going to back down from anyone in the state,” Stevens said. “If Monte Hardge was running through the lane, then I might get a bit nervous, but I haven’t seen anybody like that (in high school).”
Stevens says he learned how to take a charge at the individual Quin Snyder camps that he attended while growing up.
“They taught us how to get our feet set and fall back,” Stevens said. “But sometimes you don’t get a choice, it just happens.”
For Stevens, taking a charge is a crucial aspect to helping his team win a game. He says that a charge can give his team a boost and help put the opponent at a disadvantage by getting players into foul trouble and getting his team into a bonus situation.
Being a smart team player is something Stevens prides himself on.
“Tyler knows the game really well,” Kelly said. “His basketball IQ is very high and that makes him more effective on the court.”
Although Stevens prides himself on drawing a foul on the offense, he says acting is not in his future.
“I’m not going to Hollywood, unfortunately,” Stevens said.