CALUMET CITY | T.F. North athletic director Dale Pietranczyk has been put on alert, there is someone out there who wants his job.
Many prep athletes grow up dreaming of becoming professional athletes, Meteors girls basketball senior captain Chanel Howard the dream is a little different.
“I definitely want to coach someday,” Howard said. “I think I have a basketball mind and I know I want to work with young people after college, I’d love to be an athletic director and a coach.”
Being the starting point guard on a team that has as many underclassmen as seniors, Howard is making the most of her chance to help develop young players.
“The point guard is an extension of the coach on the floor,” Howard said. “With all the young girls there are going to be mistakes I just try to tell them that mistakes are okay and they have to keep their heads up. I try to be a leader on the floor.”
For Howard it’s not about personal glory, she wants to get her teammates involved and help rebuild the Meteors into a perennial South Suburban Blue power like they were under Tim Zasada.
“I want us to compete for a conference title this year,” Howard said. “But I want these young girls to compete for titles for years to come and be a part of building this program.”
Her coach, Chris Pruitt, agrees that she has been instrumental at involving her younger teammates in games and helping to develop their skills, but wants her captain to take the next step.
“Right now she is a quiet leader,” Pruitt said. “You have to control your team and communication is a big part of that. Right now she is working to get others involved and I want her to take control of games.”
Pruitt isn’t the only one who feels this way, by her own admission Howard knows that there are times when she has to stop being a coach on the floor and just take the game into her own hands for the Meteors.
“Sometimes I make an extra pass or look for a teammate,” Howard said. “I want to get everyone involved and help us develop a flow to our offense and make the game more fluid but I know I need to step up and be the leader and that there are certain points when I just have to take over.”
Some of those qualities came through Friday in a 1-point loss to Sandburg at the Hillcrest Holiday Classic, with the offense looking lethargic and scoring only 15 first-half points, Howard started the Meteors rolling by calling for the ball and directing her teammates as she brought the ball up the floor.
After a quiet first half with a lone assist on the score sheet Howard was sent to the free-throw line five times, converted four, and dished out four assists in the second half to lead a furious comeback by the Meteors.
“Sometimes you just have to take over the game,” Howard said. “Instead of trying to get everyone going, I just need to run things and lead by example.”