Written by John Glazier
He wasn’t the tallest, he didn’t have the purest shot on the team, he wasn’t recruited to play collegiate basketball, and he didn’t make the varsity team as an underclassman for the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 campaigns.
Those are about the only knocks you can put on Seaholm senior Spencer Eick, the 5’10” starting point guard for the Maples the past two seasons on the hardwood.
Aside from the 6’5” junior swingman Paris Bass, Eick led the team in defensive rebounds (55), offensive rebounds (45), total rebounds (110), assists (52), steals (28), and deflections (18).
A 5’10” point guard was amongst the top of the team in all three rebounding categories.
“I don’t even know how I got all of those boards,” Eick said laughing. “I was just determined to get the ball over everyone else.”
Eick was a common starter last season, but in a much different role. After losing point guard Christian Pino to transfer, and Shawn Conway to graduation, Eick was given much more responsibility.
“It was a lot different last year, I followed Christian Pino and Shawn Conway’s lead more,” Eick said. “I just let them make more plays. This year I had to call the plays and take some more chances.”
For any fan that didn’t catch the district playoff opener against cross-town rival Groves this year, Eick had an incredible three point play after a stolen pass at half court that he took in for a layup.
On the ensuing inbounds pass, Eick wrestled it out of Groves’ point guard Grant Henderson, went one on two and knocked down a layup with body contact that sent him to the free throw line.
The play sent the fans into a frenzy, and after a successful free throw, the game would be knotted back up after being down five points just two seconds earlier.
Although Eick thinks the best team memory was coming back from a 18 point deficit and defeating Brother Rice earlier in the season, that particular play he was able to use his hustle and heart to do what he needed to do to get his team back in the game.
“The play felt great,” said Eick. “I just used my hustle to my advantage and made a play to tie us back up. It was what we needed at the time and I was lucky I was able to do it.”
Seaholm senior J.D. Hess thinks that play was the highlight of the season.
“Spencer’s three point play was definitely the highlight of the year in my books,” Hess said. “We all went nuts after it.”
Determination, passion, hard-working, humble and intensity are words that are often used when describing Eick as a basketball player by his teammates and friends.
Senior guard Jake Plotnik describes Eick as such.
“I’ve been playing basketball with Spencer since the 7th grade,” Plotnik said. “He’s never been the biggest or most talented player, but he always played with high effort and passion. It’s almost impossible to replace a guy like him.”
Senior guard Matt Wilkinson echoes Plotnik.
“Spencer has always been one of the hardest working players on the team,” Wilkinson said. “It was great to play with him for seven years.”
Senior forward Russell Frye has also played with Eick since Derby and thinks he has gradually improved more than anybody he’s played with.
“Spencer has been my point guard since Derby,” Frye said. “I have never seen a player improve like he did.”
Eick get’s praise from players on the lower teams in the program as well. Tommy Sheppard, a point guard on the freshman team this past season, admires Eick’s game.
“I admired his intensity more than anything,” Sheppard said. “He might not always have the big time highlights, but his impact as a player makes the difference day in and day out because of his heart.”
Eick is happy that he was able to set an example for younger players such as Sheppard, because Seaholm alumnus Jack Quigley, former three year starter at center, made a huge impact on him.
Quigley eventually was the player who Eick modeled his game after.
“Personally I watched how Jack Quigley played more than any other player,” Eick said. “He led by example, he didn’t talk trash, he worked hard, and you could tell by watching him that he worked so hard to get where he was at.”
Avid fans of basketball enjoy watching Eick play with everything he has, and it’s even more fun when you’ve known him for your entire life.
Hess, a three sport athlete (football, hockey, lacrosse), has been close with Eick ever since he can remember.
Seeing Eick play every week for two years of varsity basketball was something that Hess has always enjoyed and will never forget.
“Watching one of your best friends on the court is so thrilling,” Hess said. “Spencer gave it his all every single game. You could just tell how comfortable his teammates were with him on the floor and that is so special in sports.”
The game of basketball has been around Spencer’s life for a long time. He started playing organized basketball in the fifth grade for Holy Name in Birmingham.
After Eick concluded his career at Holy Name, he played on the “A” team at Derby Middle School and started every game for two years where he led his team to a league championship in seventh grade.
Although his high school playing days might have concluded, basketball is still in his future.
“I’ll be attending Michigan State next year, and that doesn’t mean I’ll stop playing basketball,” Eick said. “I’ll definitely play intramural and if I join a fraternity I’ll play in the fraternity league up there.”
Basketball has been such a big part of Eick’s life, and it’s taught him things he wouldn’t have learned elsewhere.
“Basketball is definitely my favorite sport,” Eick said. “I wanted to go out this year being victorious for the last season in my career. Basketball taught me to work harder, on the court and off of it.”
With the season still in progress, the all league, and all district lineups have yet to be announced, but with a deserving resume, look out for Eick’s name.
Hard work has gotten Spencer far, and it is advice he wants everybody to go by.
“If you work hard, you can accomplish anything.”