HEBRON | The more questions that came from John Pauer, the more Hebron coach Kelly Dickensheets would just shake her head.
Pauer, ever the student of the game, questioned Dickensheets on every aspect of volleyball that he could over the first three years of his high school career.
Last year his quest for knowledge finally pushed Dickensheets to make a T-shirt which said "John Pauer gets more playing time when he stops asking questions."
Entering his senior year, Pauer is still asking questions, but he stopped worrying about earning time long ago. The all-around will be in the starting lineup for the second consecutive season.
"I just try to do the best I can when I'm out there, and if something doesn't work out on the court, I want to know what I can do to make it work," Pauer said. "Sometimes that involves a question, sometimes it involves too many questions."
Though she might give some occasional grief to Pauer, Dickensheets wouldn't trade the senior for any other player in Northwest Indiana. She said he has a rare combination of talent and unselfishness when it comes to his star-studded teammates.
"John is not the in-your-face type leader," Dickensheets said. "He's very smart and a good, calming influence on our younger kids."
Pauer is not just a leader on the field, but also in the classroom. The senior is currently No. 1 in his academic class and is looking at Indiana University for a possible career in business or the medical field. Those plans can wait, however, as Pauer is anxious to get back on the court with his teammates this season and continue an undefeated streak from last year.
"I'll think we'll have a little bit of pressure (to repeat), but we just want to take this one game at a time," Pauer said.
As cliche as Pauer's answer may be, the senior isn't just a sounding board for Dickensheets, even though the longtime coach views Pauer as an assistant on the floor. Pauer has a fresh take on the overused philosophy of never looking past the next opponent.
"All of these guys on the team are my friends and we just have a lot of fun with each other when we're out there," Pauer said. "We want to take this one game at a time because each game is a great time with our friends and we have a short season as it is."