Imagine standing 6-foot-10 and walking into a gym where every opposing fan wants to see if you're worth being one of the nation's top recruits.
Does a 17-year-old boys' basketball player feel the pressure?
"You've got to get used to it," Duluth East's Rick Rickert said following a 44-point, 17-rebound performance in an 86-66 win over the Brainerd Warriors on Tuesday. "You have to come out with intensity every time. You try not to get down on yourself if you do bad. Sometimes I've done that. I've had some bad games in the past. You just have to brush it off and come back strong."
Rickert was strong Tuesday. He scored what might be a record in Brainerd since the Warriors moved to their current gym for the 1968-69 season.
Brainerd senior Mitch Feierabend, eight inches shorter than Rickert, and 6-2 Matt Means drew the unenviable assignment of guarding Rickert. Feierabend picked up three fouls in the game's first 3-plus minutes and wound up fouling out with with 3:03 left in the contest. Means picked up his third foul with 6:03 to play in the second quarter.
Rickert, who is being recruited by Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Kentucky and Utah, as well as Minnesota, said his game isn't yet where he wants it to be.
"I have to get quicker," he said. "I have to get a better shot. I'm always working on my shot. I have to keep my intensity for a whole game and not just a half."
The Warriors have to hope they're not the opponent when Rickert puts it all together.
Yde scores 25 off bench
Lost amid Rickert's phenomenal effort was the performance by Brainerd's Matt Yde. The 6-3 senior scored 19 of his 25 points in the second half.
Yde, who was 10 of 20 from the floor and 5 of 5 at the line, frequently slashed his way to the basket for layups.
Alexandria here Friday
The Warriors, 1-4 overall, host Alexandria in a Central Lakes Conference game Friday.
"We've got a lot of improvement to make," Amundson said. "I hope the kids realize we can play better than this. We can't hang our heads. We've got to keep battling."
Brainerd Dispatch ©2013. All Rights Reserved.