Football star excels on the hardwood

February 5, 2011 — by Aasim Naqvi

Senior Chris Guengerich is known for his stellar play as a wide receiver on the varsity football team. But he also gained a reputation as a force to be reckoned with on the basketball court.

“I’m probably more skilled in football just because I’ve focused on it more,” Guengerich said. “I’ve worked harder for [football], but I actually like playing in basketball games more.”

Guengerich, who starts as forward, is one of a few players returning to the varsity squad this year after last year’s 9-15 season. This season he is currently averaging 11 points per game during the six league games played so far.

As a leader on both teams, comparisons between his football and basketball careers are inevitable. Due to his great play at wide receiver, Guengerich won the prestigious San Francisco 49ers Player of the Week for Week Five.

As for his love of basketball, he said the social aspect of the game was the initial force in luring him to basketball.

“A lot of my friends played [basketball], so I started playing,” Guengerich said.

As he began playing from a young age, a few aspects of the sport served to keep Guengerich’s attention all the way through high school. Other than the sheer enjoyment from playing the game, the physical benefits basketball offers give more than enough reason to continue playing, Guengerich said.

“I still like playing basketball because it’s fun and I’ve been playing for a while,” he said. “It also keeps me active and in shape.”

Teammates praised Guengerich’s abilities and effort. Varsity guard Kyle Dozier said Guengerich’s presence helps the team.

“He cares about his teammates and is unselfish,” Dozier said.

Despite being a quieter presence on the court compared to his football prowess, Guengerich’s reputation as a tough competitor and strong leader on the football team is no different when it comes to basketball, according to his teammates.

“He may not be the most vocal person, but he plays hard and leads by example,” Dozier said. “He leads with the way he plays on the court, which helps the team a lot.”

Additionally, Guengerich’s strong work ethic never seems to waver, varsity forward Salmaan Javed said.

“I’d say he runs the hardest and brings the most physicality during games and practices,” Javed said.

Even after playing at a high level for several years and experiencing intense, tough games, his pregame butterflies don’t last the whole game, Guengerich said.

“I get nervous before every game until I feel for how my opponent plays,” he said. “I’m also less nervous after I score my first basket.”

Even after playing a sport for so long, he said he stays motivated for one main reason.

“I always want to keep improving and get better,” he said.

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