BY ERIK GREEN
Sometimes the term “glue guy” is used to describe a player known for his intangibles and not much else. He might be a nice kid without much talent, but the other players like him and he holds the team together. This isn’t the case for North Murray’s “glue guy” Ethan Lederer.
He is, indeed, a good guy who keeps the team rolling, but he’s also a talented basketball player and a big reason why the Mountaineers are a threat to win the region for the second year in a row.
“He’s a kid that just is in the shadows, I guess you could say,” said North Murray coach Tim Ellis. “He just plays basketball so he works on it year-round and he’s a kid that has really stepped up and been a big part of the success these guys have had. He is a hard worker and a kid that has the biggest heart in the world, is a great teammate, and doesn’t care about who gets credit. That’s all these kids, really, but he epitomizes it. He goes out there and does his job.”
The 6’2” Lederer is a quiet, unassuming, kid who was the centerpiece for the Mountaineers in the first three games of the season when many of the star players were occupied by the football playoffs. Even though the Mountaineers lost those early basketball games, the experience gave Lederer, a senior, the chance to stand out and take on a leadership role.
“A lot of times these kids feel like they need to take a step back whenever they’re on a team that’s got a lot of kids that have a big reputation,” Ellis said. “That’s why we went ahead and played those non-region games because I wanted kids like him, Ty Kendrick, and Landon Ledford to be thrust into the role of the workhorse and the guy who has to carry the load.”
Lederer said he was glad to step up and take a lead role during that stretch.
“It was tough but it made me develop into a leader,” he said. “Now that we’ve got the football guys back we’re rolling. You can tell there is a big difference. The guys that are starters, we’ve been playing together since we were five or six years old. You can tell that the chemistry is really clicking.”
Lederer has a tight-end’s body and he can beat and bang in the low-post as a power forward, but his skill set is multipurpose, Ellis said. He can score near the basket or on step out and shoot, which makes his versatility extremely dangerous to the opposition.
“He is one of those guys who, in a scheme with taller players, would be a two-guard because he shoots it so well,” Ellis said. “For us, in the region we play in, and the classification, he’s going to have to bang and do those things defensively, but he creates a mismatch for other teams because he can step out and shoot it well. He has gotten better mixing it up offensively. Defensively he does a great job of rebounding.”
Lederer is part of a heralded senior class whose exploits on the athletic fields have been well documented. The entire starting lineup is comprised of seniors. After the bulk of the starters returned from football, the Mountaineers rolled off five wins in a row, including a victory over rival Murray County. The Mountaineers have a ton of experience and, while still getting their sea legs under them, should be peaking at the right time come January. Lederer should continue to be a focal point.
“We need him to do a great job on the defensive end,” Ellis said. “He is (also) that kid we still expect to put points on the board. In the last five games he has led us in two or three of them in scoring.”
Lederer has been playing basketball since his youth and, despite playing other sports, decided to focus on basketball for his senior year. It’s the pace of the game that has kept his interest through the years, he said, and he hopes to continue playing basketball on the next level if possible. Right now, though, Lederer’s focus is helping his team push through a tough region schedule and make a playoff run.
“Our region is crazy,” he said. “It’s anybody’s region. Everybody seems to reload every year. It’s really a competitive region, probably one of the best in AAA to be honest.”