A high ceiling: Lake Regions twin towers make impact

A high ceiling: Lake Regions twin towers make impact

Article by Harry Lipsiea, Devils Lake Journal Sports, December 15th, 2016.

James Streeter is used to being the tallest person in the room. The 6-foot-10 native of Coon Rapids, Minn., towers over almost everyone he meets. 

While playing basketball throughout his life, the post player has almost always been the tallest player on the court.

That, however, changed this fall when he met one of his teammates on the Lake Region State College men's basketball team. Fellow post player Harvey Barr stands two inches taller than Street. A native of England, the 7-foot center is fairly lanky while Streeter has a solid build.

Together, the freshmen have made for quite the tandem on the court this season. Bringing in separate styles, the two post players have brought size that the Lake Region State College men's basketball hasn't seen in some time. 

The addition of Barr and Streeter has been an answer to the prayers of second-year head coach Jared Marshall.

"There are a lot of college basketball coaches searching for one true post player," he told the Journal. "We are lucky to have two guys that have come in and really controlled the middle for us. It's been amazing."

 

Firsts

It's a brand new experience for the young men. Freshman year features a lot of firsts for all students such as being away family, attending college classes and adjusting to new-found responsibilities.

Participating in a sport brings even more challenges as athletes work to adjust to the collegiate level.

For Barr and Streeter, the current basketball season has brought another first: playing with someone their own size.

"I had trained with guys who were tall like me before, but have never been on the same team with a true post player like James," Barr stated. 

It's been a little different for Streeter as well as he has adjusted to have a fellow big man on the roster.

"You know in high school, I played against some tall players, but never anyone quite that tall," the Minnesota native said of his teammate.

 

One-on-one benefit

Not many players that tall have someone similar in stature to play against every single day in practice. That's what has made this situation so special, Marshall pointed out.

"It's been an absolutely great thing for both of them to have someone to battle during practice," the coach said. "The part I love about it is that they push each other in different ways. There's no doubt that Harvey and James are better basketball players because of it."

In Barr's case, it's been a tremendous opportunity to train against a physical opponent. Going against Streeter in practice, the 7-foot center has been forced to change his game a bit.

"It's pretty tough because I don't have a strength advantage over James. I used to play with my face to the basket, but I have had to adjust and tried to play stronger working back-first," he said. "To be honest, it's been brilliant. I wouldn't have it any other way. The only way you can better is by having someone exploit your weakness and James does that so well."

Not only does Barr's height give opponents problems, but his length makes it tough to get shots off against. That was something the 6-foot-10 center noticed during early on against the 7-footer from England.

"I have really gotten to prefer having an equal opponent in practice. Not being the tallest player on the court took some getting used to. It takes a while having a guy that is like an umbrella when he puts his arms up," Streeter commented. "The first time I went up against him, I tried turnaround spin moves and he stopped them. Playing against someone with his length has forced myself to adjust and made me a better basketball player."

 

Big impact

The post players have each made significant contributions to the program during their freshman campaigns. Both players average around six points per game for the Royals. Barr has also chipped in with nine rebounds and a block per game. Streeter averages four rebounds and an assist a night.

With Barr in the starting lineup and Streeter providing quality minutes off the bench, the two have become a dynamic duo for LRSC. Marshall noted that it has been very important that the team's production in the middle has stayed consistent no matter which player is in the game.

While both players control the action in the post, the centers each have their own styles.

"Harvey is a game changer defensively with his ability to block and alter shots. No matter who we have played, the other team has had to think about him at all times," Marshall said. "James comes in and is a strong, wide body that is tough to move around. I think one of his greatest qualities is the enforcement he provides in the middle."

Offensively, Barr admits does most of his work near the basket.

"Most of my scoring comes inside with easy scoring and dunks," he said.

Meanwhile, Streeter enjoys stepping back and shooting jumpers when the opportunity presents itself.

"I can shoot the ball pretty well for a big guy I guess," he added.

The freshmen enjoy filling the role of big men on and off the court. While being large in stature can make walking through doorways, finding clothes and fitting in small places, James and Harvey wouldn't change it for the world.

On the court, playing the post is a responsibility that both take seriously. 

"As a post, you have everyone's back on defense and you are the last line of the defense," Streeter pointed out.

Barr added, "To me, I like the physicality of being a big man. I take a lot of pride in getting as many rebounds as I can."

 

Good fit

Both players have enjoyed living in Devils Lake and attending Lake Region State College. It hasn't been too hard of a transition for Streeter who went to a smaller high school. 

"It's been interesting, but it's kind of what I expected. I really do like it here," he said.

Barr, however, noted that rural North Dakota living is quite a bit different than the city life he is used to in England.

"It's definitely been interesting compared to where I am from," he said. "But, my first year has been very good. I have loved it here."

Marshall notes that the young men are very intelligent and have made positive impacts to the LRSC program and campus.

"They are both great kids with awesome attitudes," the coach said. "Harvey and James come to work every single day ready to push themselves to become better basketball players."

In their first year of collegiate basketball, the twins towers each believe they have made great strides since this fall.

"I had a pretty good summer," Streeter stated. "But, the fact that I have been playing against Harvey in practice everyday has been a big help as well. I am light years ahead of where I was a year ago."

Barr notes that his biggest improvements have come from adjusting to the collegiate style of play. It took some time getting used to more aggressive play inside for the post player, he admits.

"It was a bit of an adjustment right away because of the physicality and speed of the college game," Barr said. "I can still improve my knowledge and mindset for the game, but game wise I feel I have gotten a lot better since the beginning of the season."

With plenty of strides made in just half of a season as college basketball players, it appears that sky is the limit for the combo of Streeter and Barr.

"They both have so much potential. There is a lot of room to grow and keep improving as players. Harvey and James bring so much to the table," Marshall said. "We are really glad to have them part of our program. They are great young men."