Boys Basketball: Sanford building physical skills for upcoming season

Junior Zach Sanford has been working on his vertical leap and his conditioning as he prepares for an increased role with the Rochelle Hub varsity basketball team. (Photo by Marcy DeLille)

Junior forward increasing vertical, improving conditioning

Zach Sanford has been working hard over the offseason to develop his physical skills for the upcoming basketball season. Whether it was through lifting weights nearly every day or increasing his vertical leap, Sanford has prepared himself to take on a larger role with the Hubs.

Sanford was one of several sophomores who played sparingly on the varsity team this past season, helping Rochelle to a 20-win record and a spot in the IHSA 3A Regional Finals. However, Sanford also started on a sophomore team that finished 24-5 and won the Interstate 8 Conference Championship. That chemistry will be crucial as Sanford and his Hub teammates continue adjusting to COVID-19 restrictions in preparation for the upcoming season.

“I thought I played well last season and I felt I was used the way I should have been used,” Sanford said. “My role was primarily to stay down low, grab rebounds and pass the ball out. I think I’ll be doing more scoring this year and I’ll be passing the ball a lot because we have a lot of players who can shoot the ball well… We work well together because of the time we spend together during open gyms and I think we can carry that chemistry over into this season.”

A 6-foot-5 junior, Sanford will be one of the tallest and strongest players on a Hub team looking to record its fourth winning season over the last five years. With COVID-19 limiting team activities throughout the summer and fall, Sanford said his individual work in shooting, jumping and conditioning will put him in a position to be successful when the season tips off.

“We’re trying to have another successful season,” Sanford said. “I’ve been working to get in much better shape and my vertical has improved a lot. I didn’t have much of a vertical before, but I’ve been able to dunk the ball a lot recently. Even if we only play 20 games, we want to win 10-to-15 of those games and have a winning record. We want to win by a lot as well.”

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