WARSAW – Jeremy David gives the Warsaw basketball team quite the physical presence in the paint.
It’s a role that the forward relishes too for the semi-state bound Tigers.
The valuable contributions of role players like David are also a key reason why Warsaw has been on a roll all season long.
David, a well-chiseled 6-4, 200-pound junior, provides the Tigers with toughness on the glass and on defense.
“Everyone on this team knows their roles real well,” said David following practice Tuesday. “And we do not go outside of those. For me and Riley (forward Riley Rhoades), it’s rebounding.
“I just try to be physical, bring my rebounding every game and energy too.”
David has helped the Tigers to a 25-1 mark during a remarkable season. The No. 5 Tigers face No. 4 McCutcheon (27-3) on Saturday at 6:45 p.m. in the Class 4-A North Semistate game at Lafayeete Jefferson High School. A win on Saturday and the Tigers will play for the Class 4-A state championship on March 26 in Indianapolis.
David is part of a stout defense that is ranked second in the state in points-allowed-per-game at a measly 39.5 per contest.
“The pack line is the key to our defense,” explained David. “Teams drive in there and it’s like they hit a brick wall.”
The Warsaw defense will be challenged on Saturday. The Mavericks are averaging 73.7 points-per-game, led by star sophomore guard Robert Phinisse, and love to shoot the 3-ball. McCutcheon, which ranks second in the state in average margin of victory per game at 23.6, is 244-659 from distance on the season.
David, who loves the contact thanks in large part to his role as an outstanding tight end/linebacker for the Warsaw football program, embraces the physical nature in the paint for a tough, defensive-minded unit.
“Coming into basketball after football I have to tone it back a little bit,” said David about the physical nature on the hardwood as opposed to the gridiron. “But, it’s fun and I enjoy it a lot. Our defense needs to be even better this week. We have to limit drives and make them not comfortable.”
David turned in a very strong effort in the regional semifinal win last Saturday. He had seven points and 11 rebounds as the Tigers outlasted South Bend Riley 79-74 in double overtime.
“Jeremy’s rebounding and free throws really kept us in the game in the first half against Riley,” said Warsaw coach Doug Ogle. “The thing about Jeremy is that when he realizes how difficult he could be to guard that’s going to be good for us.
“The combination of him and Riley physically and with their athleticism are unsung heroes for us. When both of them are rebounding for us we are good. We just need Jeremy to be aggressive on offense this week for us too.”
David, who has started 25 games this season, is averaging 4.5 points-per-game and a team-high 4.4 rebounds per outing. He is shooting 60 percent from the field on the season.
“Jeremy is tough and very coachable,” said Warsaw star guard Paul Marandet. “His rebounding is a big key for us. He’s also just a very kind guy. He’s so respectful.”
David doesn’t mind for a moment that the spotlight normally shines on Warsaw’s stellar guard tandem of Kyle Mangas and Marandet.
“We feed off the energy that Paul and Kyle bring to the team,” noted David.
“We all know that everyone is a big part of this team.”