Westminster senior Bobby Krauk has stepped into the spotlight this season, emerging as one of the county's most dominant big men. The 6-foot-5 center entered this weekend's play averaging 18.2 points and 10.5 rebounds, while shooting 59 percent from the field.
For Krauk however, personal statistics take a backseat to helping his young teammates learn the ropes. Though the Owls have struggled for wins, he takes pride in knowing that he's playing a key role in his team's future success.
Your team has changed quite a bite from last season. You have a new coach [Dan Hewins] and several new starters. How has your role changed?
A year ago, I was the only junior starting in a lineup with all seniors, so I wasn't really relied on as much for my experience. My leadership role has just taken a complete change this year. This year, those seniors are all gone, and our team is mostly sophomores and juniors, so the whole leadership role has kind of shifted to me.
Do you see yourself as a teacher on the court, helping younger players figure out where they're supposed to be and what they're supposed to do?
Definitely, without a doubt. Since it's a new coach, it's a new system, so in a sense we're all kind of learning. But using my experience, I just try to help the younger guys on the team. If they're having problems with the play, I just kind of help them walk through it so that our whole team is on the same page.
How is the system different than last year?
Last year, the offense allowed for our point guard to get a lot of shots. It was a more balanced offense. This year, our offense kind of works its way in, then looks out. It kind of revolves more through the post.
Do you see that as kind of a double-edged sword for you? While you're play this season has really put you in the spotlight, the team as a whole has struggled for wins.
As a team we're kind of struggling, but what I'm trying to do is help these younger guys. That way, next year when they get older they'll be able to have a lot of success as a team. I'm trying to go out and have a great time for myself in my senior year this year, as well as try and help them.
What has been the biggest improvement in your game?
I'd say my all-around confidence. I've been on varsity since I was a sophomore, and that was kind of like my learning year. Then last year I was the only junior starting in a lineup full of seniors, so I really wasn't looked upon to do all the scoring or be a huge impact player. But this year, the team has kind of looked at me to be the leader and make sure everything just clicks together.
You're also one of the top punters in the metro area, picked for the Baltimore Touchdown Club's Super 22 team. Have you made a decision yet about which sport you'll pursue at the collegiate level?
I've talked to schools from all different levels for basketball, but right now it's looking like it's mostly going to be Division II or Division III. I really don't have a finalist list yet. I'm also talking to schools for football, ranging from Division I-AA to Division III. It's kind of up in the air. I was talking to my football coach the other day, and he said it's kind of a dead period right now. That really wouldn't get finalized for another month or so.
Do you have a preference about which one you'd like to play?
That's tough, because there's things I really like about both. I guess it just depends on the whole situation -- what's best for me and my family.
You missed the second half of last football season with a quadriceps injury. How did the injury occur?
It was kind of like a buildup. I went down to the University of Virginia for a camp this past summer, and went to some showcase camps for that. I really went around everywhere and just burned out my leg before the season even started.
How much did that affect your ability to practice basketball during the preseason?
I kind of had to take it easy. The orthopedist told me to not do any separators or sprints during the first week of tryouts -- to just kind of go out and walk through the offense to get familiar with it. It probably wasn't until about two or three weeks into the season until I could go close to 100 percent.
Aside from sports, you're also a standout student. Do you have an idea what you'd like to study in college?
Probably kinesiology, or maybe biology. I've always thought that whether I go on to play football or basketball, I'd love to be able to get back involved one day through sports medicine. Maybe I could be the team orthopedic or something like that.