High school boys basketball: Adams senior guard Beard grows on and off court
Senior point guard leads Adams into regional
Each time, his mom asked him if he had a backup plan.
Beard is the 5-foot-10, 180-pound senior point guard for the Adams High basketball team.
He’s the epitome of the ol’ cliche: The straw that stirs the Eagles’ drink.
He will lead Adams into Saturday’s Michigan City Regional matchup with Warsaw (10:30 a.m., EST).
But, it almost didn’t happen.
Beard’s first brush with a life without hoops came freshman year. Elevated to the varsity before the season started, all the big man on campus had to do was hoop it up. Forget about going to classes. Right?
“I got a big head and got distracted from my school work,” Beard said. “‘You da man, you’re playing varsity.’
“I wouldn’t come to school in the mornings, then just show up for a couple classes before practice.”
Oops. Not only did that plan backfire, causing Beard to be academically ineligible for the whole season, but he’s still paying the price. Now, every day after school and before he could join practice, he’s working with a teacher on an online program that allows him to improve his grade in freshman English.
Beard got a 3.0 for all his classes during the last grading period. Adams coach Milt Cooper and athletic director Bill Groves, along with academic staff members, have scoured Beard’s grades and confirm he will graduate with no problems in June.
“The most progress Joe has made in the last two years has been in his school work,” said Cooper.
That’s saying a lot. Beard has developed into quite a player on the court.
“Two years ago (when Cooper took over at Adams), I’d watch him in open gyms and I knew he would be special,” the coach said. “The one thing that (angers) a coach more than anything is when a player doesn’t play hard. Joe always played hard.
“What also caught my attention was that he was so giving. He put the team before himself. That’s what a point guard does.”
“Even in open gyms, I prided myself on defense first,” Beard said. “That’s how I’ve always played.”
Beard was a key part of last year’s sectional title and narrow loss in the regional championship battle with Elkhart Memorial.