North Side senior Nate Carbaugh embraces his non-star status
Nate Carbaugh isn’t a star basketball player.
And you know what? He’s cool with it
In a time when almost every prep hoops player (and their parents) have dreams of stardom, Carbaugh, a senior forward at North Side, is perfectly comfortable with who he is.
“He is a true ‘trust the process’ type of young man,” North Side coach Shabaz Khaliq said. “He is someone that has been with us all four years and has waited for his opportunity.”
Carbaugh is the kid that coaches love to coach. He does whatever he is told in practice, works hard and never complains. His patience has paid off. After seeing next to no court time last year in his first year on the varsity team, the 6-foot-5 Carbaugh has started all season long for North Side, averaging 4.2 points per game.
The gaudy numbers aren’t there, but the consistency, hustle and team mentality are for Carbaugh.
“You need guys that are willing to do the little things,” Khaliq said. “You always have to have five guys capable of scoring, but not five guys wanting to score.”
Carbaugh is jokingly referred to as “the best lay-up maker in the area” by his coaches and teammates, and to a certain extent, that is true. The senior is always good for a couple easy buckets around the basket per game on good finds by teammates or off offensive rebounds.
Last week, Carbaugh played an even bigger role in the scorebook for the Legends. He dropped 13 points in a sectional semifinal victory over DeKalb, including a three-pointer at the buzzer to conclude the first half. One night later against Carroll, the senior scored six points but was a greater contributor on defense as he was a thorn in the side of David Ejah in the post.
“I always knew my hard work would pay off,” Carbaugh sais. “Not everybody can be a star.”
To Khaliq, Carbaugh’s production this year has not been completely unexpected. As a freshman, Carbaugh lacked the frame at about 6-2 to project as a guy who could compete at the varsity level in a significant capacity. But as Carbaugh grew in height and in length, he was able to find his niche.
As North Side prepares for regional this Saturday beginning with a showdown with Zionsville (22-3) at 10 a.m. at Logansport, Khaliq knows he can count on his unsung starter Carbaugh to do whatever it takes to succeed while taking a backseat in the limelight to the likes of Keion Brooks Jr. and Austin Boucher.
“If you would ask Nate I believe he would say he is enjoying this year as he enjoyed last year, and he didn’t even play much last year,” Khaliq said. “Being around the guys and that camaraderie is just as valuable to him as the minutes he has played.
“Nate is a guy we use (with the younger kids) on how you buy into the culture that is North Side basketball and the inclusion regardless of…what your role is. He exemplifies that more than anyone we have ever had.”