I watched as Sam Dekker single-handily led his Sheboygan Lutheran team to a WIAA Division 5 state championship by hitting the game-winning shot and scoring 18 points in the final 48.5 seconds. I watched last season when Sam Dekker, a highly-touted freshman, would come off the bench for Bo Ryan and provide flashes of how great of a player he currently was.
There was a lot of chatter about how great Sam was going to be while he was at Madison.
So you can’t blame me–or anyone else who watches basketball–for expecting phenomenal things from Dekker, a potential player of the year candidate before the 2013-14 season started. There was even some major talk about how Dekker could possibly forego his junior and senior years and enter the NBA Draft this summer.
Simply put, did we just have too big of expectations for Sam Dekker heading into this past season? I know I did, and I’m guessing a lot of you did too.
Dekker averaged 12.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game this past season. Nothing to scoff at by any means. But at times, it just seemed Dekker disappeared from games. For the most part Sam put up double-digits in points, but it was done quietly. There were also times where Dekker seemed almost too passive. Throughout the season I kept waiting for Sam to become more aggressive and take over games rather than be passive and wait for things to happen.
Maybe it’s just me, I don’t know. But I thought Dekker would have put up 18 points a game and grab eight rebounds. Maybe it has something to do with Frank Kaminsky excelling well beyond anyone’s imagination. Or maybe it was Dekker’s inability to live up to the pressures that were put on him before the season started.
It’s all speculation because I can’t put my finger on it and obviously I’m not with the team 24/7. But I do know one thing for sure. This team will have very high expectations set upon them next season after reaching the Final Four this past season.
I have a feeling this is the year Sam Dekker rises to the occasion. It’s up to the rest of his teammates to do the same.