Boys’ basketball: Tsao’s summer starts improvement

February 15, 2012 — by Will Edman

During the summer, the outdoor basketball “Courts of Dreams” next to Benny Pierce Field were used by a diverse group of people, from middle school students to SHS alumni to adults searching for recreation. However, among the many different people who frequented the courts, one person seemed to be ever-present: junior Arthur Tsao.

During this basketball season, Tsao, a 5’10” small forward, has been an impact player who considers his role to be “to make open shots and keep the defensive intensity up.” Tsao has gained accolades from his teammates for his contributions.

“He brings us a shooting threat off the bench,” starting point guard senior Brandon Pak said. “He helps us spread the defense because defenders have to stay on him around the three-point arc.”

Tsao is currently the second-leading scorer off the bench, averaging over 3 points per game. However, his value lies not in his points per game average, but his ability to make shots in streaks. Before this season, he was not expected to have such a large impact, but Tsao found an unlikely means of improvement on the outdoor basketball courts where he practiced almost daily during the summer.

Through pick-up games with his siblings’ friends, Tsao improved his game and shooting stroke while creating friendships with college students and adults.

“It was a good learning experience for me to play with other people who love the game of basketball too,” Tsao said. “Soon they became my good friends because we played so much over the summer.”

His participation in the pick-up games also enabled Tsao to create new strengths in his game.

“By playing over the summer, I was also able to pick up some passing ability,” Tsao said. “The older guys didn’t want to play point guard, so I often took the role of a distributor and play-maker.”

Due to his summer practice, Tsao admitted that his 3-point range and his defense were improved since his time on JV. Teammates agreed that Tsao had stepped up his game.

“I think playing every day got him in shape and ready for the flow of varsity basketball,” Pak said.

Tsao, in his transition to varsity, found that the pick-up games would not lead to a perfect transition. “During pick-up games, there are no plays, so there is a lot more freedom and no stress if you make a bad play,” Tsao said. “In school basketball, there are roles on the team and in order for the team to be successful, you need to adapt to the system.”

Tsao’s improvement did not end on the outdoor courts: as the basketball season progresses, Tsao continues to refine his game. “I keep trying to get more shots up before and after practice,” Tsao said. “I’m still a work in progress.”

With Tsao contributing, the team took a one loss league record into the latter part of the season, as of Feb. 4. The team’s only setback came on Jan. 20 in a 50-43 loss. However, the team bounced back in big fashion with a heart-stopping two point victory on Feb. 3 against Wilcox, with Forwards Steve Berman and Kyle Dozier and Guards Brandon Pak and Alex Wang scoring the vast majority of the points in the team’s win.