Friday, November 28, 2014

Leach finds perfect fit at OU

By Greg Mast/Herald Sports Editor | 5/11/2012

Sam Leach has the qualities of a student-athlete Ottawa University men’s basketball coach Andy Carrier likes to have in his program.

The Central Heights senior saw a lot of things he wanted from a college in Ottawa University. He was comfortable with the campus and the basketball program.

Sam Leach has the qualities of a student-athlete Ottawa University men’s basketball coach Andy Carrier likes to have in his program.

The Central Heights senior saw a lot of things he wanted from a college in Ottawa University. He was comfortable with the campus and the basketball program.

His high school coach Rusty Cannady played for and coached with Carrier. Leach attended several Braves games and talked to the Ottawa players.

Leach felt the situation was right for him. He signed with the Braves Friday in the Central Heights library.

“I wanted to stay close to home and go to school,” Leach said. “The campus was really nice and clean. It is a good program. The coaches are honest.”

Carrier recruits student-athletes that possesses leadership along with good basketball skills.

“He is a skilled player that understands the game,” Carrier said. “He is a good student and a good basketball player. He has been well-coached. He comes from a winning program.”

Leach was one of the stalwarts for the Vikings. He was a three-year starter. He was a major cog in Central Heights’ third-place state tournament finish. In his career, he was part of 57 victories and scored 907 points.

“His biggest strength is his toughness,” Cannady said. “He went through the [knee] injury. He is an absolute gamer. He is tough-minded.”

Cannady felt Leach would be a good fit for Carrier’s program as the Viking wanted to pursue an education degree and not stray far from his family.

“It is a true perfect fit,” Cannady said. “I use a lot of coach’s stuff in our program. He has a certain comfort level.

“Coach is a father to anybody that goes to that school.”

Leach took Cannady’s advice to look into Ottawa.

“He played there,” Leach said. “The players were down to earth. They like to push the ball.”

Leach brings to the Braves a good outside touch.

As as senior, he averaged 15.7 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists. He fired in 47 treys and shot 45 percent from the field.

“He can stretch the defense,” Carrier said. “He has a passion for the game.”

Cannady saw Leach mature through the years as a person and a basketball player. He entered high school known for his outside shot. He left as a player who could score from anywhere, as a shutdown defender and player who would provide the intangibles.

“He is a dead-eye shooter,” Cannady said. “He always wants to take the big shot. He wants the ball in his hands.”

Leach knows he is not the most agile or quickest player on the court.

“I need to work on speed, strength ... everything all around,” Leach said. “I need to get as strong as I can.”

Leach did say the knee is fine and not a concern.

Greg Mast can be reached at sports@ottawaherald.com

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