Tuesday, February 01, 2011

SPORTS >> Sterrenberg biding time, taking shots with Wolves

Leader sports editor

Adam Sterrenberg certainly has the three-point shooter’s patience.

The Arkansas State sophomore and Cabot product is in no rush to light up the scoreboard and is not at all impatient with his limited playing time at this point in his career.

Like all good shooters, Sterrenberg prefers to let the game, and court time, come to him.

“Everyone wants to play more but I’m fine with it,” Sterrenberg said after Arkansas State beat rival UALR 75-64 at the Jack Stephens Center in Little Rock on Saturday.

“I’m a sophomore, I’ve got two more years,” Sterrenberg said. “I’m just going to give it my all in practice and get more playing time but I’m satisfied right now.

“We got a win; we’re in the middle of a race for a conference championship so I couldn’t be happier.”

Sterrenberg played 11 minutes Saturday, making one three-pointer with two rebounds and an assist as the Red Wolves beat their rivals the Trojans.

Sterrenberg’s three-pointer with 3:48 left in the first half gave Arkansas State its biggest lead at 27-9 after the Red Wolves opened the game on an 11-0 run. UALR would get no closer than seven the rest of the way.

“I’ve been struggling lately from three-point range; my percentage is really low,” Sterrenberg said of the 17.4 three-point percentage he brought into the game. “It gave me a lot of confidence coming back home. They expect a lot out of me so I feel like I need to produce more; I’ve got to make a three and this sort of helps everything out.”

His playing time was just under the 12.7 minutes he was averaging entering the game, but Sterrenberg was satisfied with the performance he turned in before a crowd of well wishers that included his parents Dan and Gale and Cabot coach Jerry Bridges.

“I always love coming back home,” Sterrenberg said. “I’ve got a lot of fans, friends, family that come out and support me. It was great coming back home with a victory.

“I felt like we played good and gave them a good showing.”

Sterrenberg got his most playing time this year, 26 minutes, and a career-high 14 points in the 69-57 victory over Central Baptist on Dec. 28 while sitting out the season opener against Ole Miss and the Dec. 1 game against Memphis.

“I want to get bigger, get stronger because that’s by far my weakness right now,” Sterrenberg said. “Get a step faster. Get my shot back to where it used to be in high school and last year. I’ve got a busy offseason in front of me.”

Sterrenberg was a three-year, all-state selection at Cabot and averaged 22.9 points a game his senior season while hitting 43 percent of his three-point attempts. He helped the Panthers to a 23-6 finish, a share of the 7A-Central Conference championship and the semifinals of the 7A state tournament.

But the state’s largest high school classification has nothing on NCAA Division I basketball, Sterrenberg said, even in a mid-major conference like the Sun Belt.

“Division I, people don’t understand, from high school it’s always a couple steps higher,” Sterrenberg said. “Competition is so much better. I mean, mid-major or not, it’s tough to go out there and play.”

UALR, among others, also recruited Sterrenberg, but he chose to become a member of coach John Brady’s first recruiting class.

“I really liked coach Brady; he came from LSU, he took them to a Final Four,” Sterrenberg said. “He’s a proven winner so I wanted to come here to win and hopefully get a ring.”

As a freshman, Sterrenberg played in 21 games and averaged 3.2 points.

Admittedly, he would likely be getting more playing time and scoring more points at a Division II school, but that was never Sterrenberg’s goal.

“I’ve always wanted to be a Division I player,” Sterrenberg said. “Back in high school coach Bridges always asked me what my goals are. I always wanted to play D-I. That was part of it. That was a good tradeoff.”