As cliché as it may sound, the box score really doesn’t always tell the true story of a player’s contributions to his team.
A look at Wichita Falls Rider senior guard Kellar Owens’ statistics might have some thinking that he does not have much of an impact, but Raiders head coach Cliff McGuire would be the first to tell you that numbers do not define Owens. According to McGuire, the 5-foot-10-inch, 160-pound floor general can affect the game by finding an open man or forcing a turnover.
“Kellar’s worked really hard and improved as a ball-handler and as a defender as well,” McGuire told Texas Scorecard. “The fact that he and [junior] Nick [Darcus], the other guard – we play two point guards – will be able to step up and create for others” provides a big lift for the Raiders.
The coach added that Owens is “the leader when it comes to maximum effort in practice and in games.”
Though the guard does not frequently lead the team in scoring, McGuire said he is “an underrated shooter. He really sets the tone for the rest of our team.”
Rider, which will begin its 2019-2020 campaign against Keller High on Nov. 16, lost its biggest stars in Ty Caswell, now at Lubbock Christian University, and Ben Moffat, now at Rice. Caswell and Moffat’s efforts led the Raiders on a lengthy playoff run last season.
Their departures changed the makeup of the program but reloading will not be as difficult, McGuire said.
Owens, who averaged nearly four points and around five assists per game in his junior season, is expected to aid in what McGuire says is a group effort. The senior’s hugest impact will definitely be on defense.
“He went from an average defender to an elite-level defender,” McGuire said. “That’s just him buying in effort-wise.”
While other guards can be prolific scorers, Owens embraces his role as a facilitator who will light up the scoreboard for the Raiders if need be, which he did to the tune of 15 points – a prep career-high for him – in Rider’s second-round playoff game last season.
“It takes a great player and a great person to be able to accept your role,” McGuire said.
The coach expects the team to work hard to secure another regional tournament berth.
“We want to win a district championship and get to the regional tournament,” McGuire said.