Schaller scores starting center position as freshman


Freshman Patrick Schaller is announced as a starter before his game against Maine West on Feb. 27. Schaller started in all but one game this season. Photo by Natalie Sandlow

Prior to the boys varsity basketball team’s first game of the season, freshman Patrick Schaller ran onto the court of the Main Gym, searching for his parents in the stands. Schaller then looked at the scoreboard and spotted his name, indicating he was a starter.

As both teams, Glenbrook North and Niles North, stood for the national anthem, Schaller took that time to calm his nerves. 

“When we came to the game I didn’t know if I was starting or not,” said Schaller in a video conference. “[The team] saw on the scoreboard my number was up there … and under my mask I had a little smile on my face.” 

According to head coach Quin Hayes, Schaller was an obvious choice for the team’s starting lineup. 

“He provides a post presence offensively and defensively for us, which we were lacking.

“I think it was a pretty easy decision for our coaching staff,” Hayes said.

During the season the team went 7-11. Schaller averaged six points, three rebounds and two assists per game while shooting 43 percent from the field.

According to Schaller, he was afraid of making mistakes during team scrimmages since he believed he had to play perfect to be on the team. 

“I was a little overwhelmed,” said Schaller. “I had to prove to everyone that I was good enough and that I could be here and that I should be a special part of this team.”

In the season’s opening game, just after halftime, Schaller scored the first basket of his high school career.  

Senior Aiden Degabli said in a video conference that Schaller blended really well with the team. 

“All the seniors took him under our wing and kind of helped him out,” said Degabli. “We had some guys stepping up and giving him rides whenever he needed.”

Junior Brandon Gordon, said in a video conference that he remembered one of Schaller’s game changing moments. 

“There were three seconds left on the clock and [Schaller] dribbled the ball three-fourths of the court,” said Gordon. “I remember him finishing his shot and it was a huge change in the game, giving momentum to everyone. The whole team was off the bench.” 

According to Schaller, playing a higher level of competition was a great way to practice and become a better player. 

“I’ve had some great competition to go against this year,” said Schaller. “I have definitely improved a lot.

“I think I’ve done a great job,” Schaller said.