|Kyle Baughman: Unsung Hero for Men's Basketball Team||03/6/2013|
Cresson—Too often in modern sports, the hoopla of high rising, in-your-face plays wrongly overshadow the routine, considerably less flashy parts of the game. Ask any coach, however, and they will tell you, without hesitation, that having players who make those otherwise mundane plays is what wins games.
Such was the case with Mount Aloysius combo guard Kyle Baughman.
A native of suburban Cleveland, Ohio, Baughman was an unsung hero of sorts for the Mounties. There was nothing particularly impressive about his stat line—6.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game—nor, flashy about his game. Yet, Baughman was certainly a major factor in Mount Aloysius having its best season this year, since becoming a four-year institution.
“Baughman doesn’t mind doing the dirty work,” Mount Aloysius coach Lance Loya said. “He was one of those rare players who truly relished playing defense.”
Loya said he regularly assigned Baughman to guard the opponents’ top player, and it was a role that Baughman savored.
“I always like taking the challenge of locking down the other team’s best scorer. I really take pride in doing it,” Baughman said.
When asked about the origins of his fondness for playing defense, Baughman quickly recalls a game from his sophomore year in high school when he was given the assignment to shut down the other team’s best player, who was averaging 35 points per game.
“I didn’t play much, but at half time, my coach said, we don’t need you to score. We don’t need you to do anything, except not let him score. So, he put me in and I face guarded him the rest of the game,” Baughman said.
Besides the scoring column of the player he’s assigned to guard, there is one other stat that stands out for Baughman—assists. He led the Mounties in that statistic this season, and his passing prowess is something that prompted Loya to Baughman into the Mounties starting line up late in the season.
“We were the top scoring team in the conference, and had two of the league’s best scorers on our team. That does not happen by accident. That happens because players like Baughman are unselfish and able to put the ball in the shooter’s hands at the right time,” Loya said.
Baughman said one of the reasons he is able to play defense with a high level of energy is his commitment to taking care of his body.
“Kyle is the healthiest eater I have ever met,” teammate Tanner Thomas said.
“I started doing the Insanity DVD and figured I didn’t want to negate all that hard work by eating unhealthy. You only get one body, so might as well make it the best body it can be,” Baughman said.
While Baughman’s unselfish play and commitment to healthy living are impressive, it is his academic achievement that is perhaps the most remarkable.
He is a two-time A.M.C.C. Academic All-Conference honoree with a 3.2 grade point average. Perhaps most impressively, however, Baughman will complete his bachelor’s degree this spring, after just three years of college.
In quasi-Doogie Howsarish fashion, Baughman was able to work ahead academically by taking college-level courses while he was still in high school. His plan is to begin work on his PhD in physical therapy this fall, with his ultimate goal to one day work at the renowned Cleveland Clinic.
“Obviously, I wanted to play basketball all four years, but getting my degree early and getting a jumpstart on my career is a good thing for me,” Baughman said. “But I wouldn’t trade the years I played at Mount Aloysius for the world. It was a great experience.”