Samaad Hector’s move to Vancouver gave Skyview a big boost
VANCOUVER — He has lived in Germany and South Korea.
In America, he and his family have resided in Maryland, Alaska, Texas, and Michigan.
Nearly two years ago, the family made it to Vancouver.
With so many moves — his dad works for the U.S. Army — Samaad Hector has had to figure out how to make friends in a hurry.
Perhaps that is why he is an excellent teammate, too.
He has an outgoing personality and wants to get along, he understands his purpose, and he is willing to serve his teammates.
The Skyview boys basketball team has made it to the state round of 16 for the first time in its history. Hector is a big reason for this memorable season, standing tall at 6-foot-5, willing to sacrifice his numbers on offense in order to excel at defense and rebounding.
He has destroyed the school record for rebounds in a season, averaging 9.8 per game. He had a school-record 21 on one game earlier this season.
Hector credits his coaches from his freshman season in Michigan for teaching him the secret to rebounding. He said he did not play a lot early in his career. He wasn’t a scorer. But his coaches saw his size and athletic ability and convinced him that in order to get minutes, he would have to pursue other talents than just trying to score.
“Watch where the ball is going, its trajectory, and then just go get it,” Hector recalled of the coaching he received.
Today, it is second-nature.
“I can just tell where it’s going to go,” he said.
Hector also is averaging more than a block per game. Plus there is the shots he alters. Not an official stat, but Hector’s presence has been known to change an opponent’s shot at the last second. Pretty much a forced miss by Hector.
“I am a rim protector,” Hector said. “Don’t let anybody get easy baskets.”
That skill-set and mentality found its way to Skyview when the Hector family moved to Vancouver just prior to Samaad’s junior year.
“I was so mad,” Hector acknowledged about having to move again.
After so many transitions, he thought Michigan was going to be the final stop, at least until he finished high school. He said he has always had to be social in order to find new friends, so he knew he could adapt, but he was still bummed to be leaving his friends in Michigan.
Yet, he soldiered on and made contact with Skyview coach Matt Gruhler, letting him know his desire to play for the Storm.
Still, other than Hector being tall, Gruhler knew nothing more about him.
“We weren’t sure what we were going to get out of him. We didn’t know if he could really play or not. We weren’t sure to pencil him as varsity or not,” Gruhler recalled.
It did not take long to figure it out.
“Within the first day of tryouts, we could tell he was a guy who was going to help us out,” Gruhler said.
The Storm had a strong season in Hector’s junior year, but they struggled at bi-district and did not make it to state. They all were determined to make it happen this season, and Hector stepped up his game, too.
“He has a motor to go after rebounds like no one I’ve coached,” Gruhler said. “There is no one who goes and gets a ball out of his area more than Samaad.”
Hector also has learned to not foul quite as much as he tries for blocked shots. He still gets himself in a bit of trouble now and then, but progress has been made since last season. That defensive presence is so valuable to the rest of the team.
“When teams have to think about ‘Uh-oh, here comes Samaad,’ that allows our defense to be more aggressive,” Gruhler said.
“He is very selfless in his play,” the coach added.
The coaches in the Class 4A Greater St. Helens League took notice. Hector was voted to the first team in the all-league voting.
“Not because of his scoring, which he can do. It was all the little things he does to allow us to reach our full potential,” Gruhler said.
Unlike the rest of his Skyview teammates, Hector does have state tournament experience. As a sophomore, he began his season on the junior varsity squad of his high school in Michigan. He was moved up to varsity, though, and his team made it to the championship game.
Now he is hoping for another long run in his newest hometown.
“This team, I just knew we could do it,” he said of getting to state. “We know how each other plays, and the chemistry is really high.”
Samaad Hector knows a thing or two about chemistry, about becoming a friend, a good teammate, of finding a way to cherish special moments.
Next year, he will be moving on again, likely to a community college to continue his basketball career. Eventually, he hopes to arrive at a four-year program.
His experience shows he will adapt to his new environment. His skills promise he will be a big part of his new team. And his character will ensure he remains a quality teammate.