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Nicole Lenard remembers her moment of realization that she was watching a new Meghan Erdman. Their New York City Warriors AAU team was trailing by two points with 30 seconds left in a recent game. Erdman, who was not known for her shooting in the past, was fouled taking a three-pointer. She calmly went to the line and sank all three free throws, leading the Warriors to a come-from-behind win.
“I think maybe last year she wouldn’t be able to do that,” said Lenard, who also played with Erdman at St. Francis Prep. “I think it is more confidence.”
That and plenty of hard work.
The 5-foot-10 junior has made improving her jump shot one of her focuses this summer. Erdman works regularly with Jerry Powell, the renowned trainer from Long Island. She has used that time to improve her shooting and her overall conditioning to get quicker and stronger for the upcoming season.
“Just going in training, I noticed that my shot got so much better,” Erdman said. “Now if I am open I will take it. I feel like I have more confidence.”
It has certainly shown with her AAU team and her East Hills-based Sid Jacobson JCC squad, playing at the Maccabi Games this week in Westchester. They won their second-straight gold medal last Thursday at Rye Country Day School and did not lose a game in the Olympic-style event for Jewish youth with teams from around the world.
Erdman, who got off to a slow start with the Terriers in her first season on the varsity, isn’t hesitant to take and knock down open jumpers now, something that has opened up her already strong driving ability. Her quickness has her also leading and finishing fast breaks.
“Now because they are giving me less space with a jump shot, I can also drive,” Erdman said. “I have more ways to score.”
The small forward’s budding offensive game has been a welcome addition for a player who already possessed great defensive instincts. Erdman said she loves playing defense, especially creating steals. Her athleticism and length gives her the ability to cover a lot of ground and rebound against bigger girls.
“She has a long wing span,” Warriors Coach Mike Kotrozos said. “She gets in the passing lanes. Considering she is not very big, she always finds a way to rebound.”
It made her the perfect fit to run a continuous trapping defense Sid Jacobson Coach Mike Wimmer wanted to install. It was something he picked up while playing at SUNY Purchase. Erdman is a runner, trapping at different spots on the floor. It didn’t take her long to master it. Wimmer, who credits Erdman’s smarts, said she has been dominating at times.
“She picked it up better than the guys I played with,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”
Erdman was one of the nine St. Francis Prep basketball players suspended and later reinstated after they were kept from attending a game against Christ the King by their parents because the parents were upset with the school’s lack of response to their petition asking for the immediate removal of Coach JoAnn Wagner. She is looking forward to getting a chance to earn a spot back on the squad next season.
“I can’t wait to play next year,” Erdman said. “I’m really excited.”
The Terriers should be, too, since they will be getting a more confident and skilled player.
“I think her game has improved a lot,” Lenard said. “She plays like a totally different person now.”
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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