Perhaps one of the most underappreciated roles on a high school boys basketball team belongs to the first couple of players coming off the bench. They don’t hold the status of a starter, but their value can mean the difference between winning and losing.
Does Matt Moran feel unappreciated?
Not at all.
“I feel like everyone’s been supporting me,” the Shoreham-Wading River junior said. “It’s been awesome.”
Shoreham’s regular starters have been Ken DeGolyer, Chris Sheehan, Jalen Wright, Dan Cassidy and Dean Stalzer, but Moran hasn’t been lost in the mix. He is undoubtedly valued and appreciated as one of the first players coming off the bench along with junior forward Andrew Blanco and sophomore forward Liam Mahoney, who started part of the season.
“He’s been playing great all season,” coach Kevin Culhane said of Moran. “He had a very good JV season last year. Through sheer hard work and effort, he’s built himself into the rotation, probably one of the most improved guys on the team, a great attitude, a great effort.”
Moran said he didn’t expect to play much in this, his first varsity season, but he did something about it. “I just worked really hard so I could get more playing time,” he said.
Moran lists his strengths as defense and rebounding. He can also dish out assists.
“My job is to come off the bench, try to give a spark to the team if they’re feeling low,” he said, “but I like to bring a bunch of energy to the court and give it 150 percent every time I get out there.”
Teammates have taken notice of Moran’s contributions.
“He comes off the bench and brings a lot of energy and fire and rebounds and everything,” Wright, a senior guard, said. “I love it.”
DeGolyer, a senior guard/forward, said Moran “comes in for me a lot when I’m gassed or I need a break. He comes in, shooting threes. He gets that rebound. He really makes the offense get the momentum going.”
Moran said he is enjoying his role and the season.
“I’m having a lot of fun,” he said. “I think we have a lot of potential and we just need to execute. … We need to finish, but otherwise we’ve been playing really fantastic.”
Photo caption: Shoreham-Wading River junior Matt Moran in action against Southampton. (Credit: Robert O’Rourk file)