For Kyle Buzzard, the word “pest” is a term of endearment.
Used by Sycamore boys basketball coach Andrew Stacy to describe his senior guard’s style of play, the word refers to the constant defensive pressure and energy Buzzard brings to the court.
“I like that. I kind of play with a chip on my shoulder, I guess. I don’t know why,” Buzzard said. “Just because I’m smaller than most. I like being that guy, it’s fun.”
New to the varsity team last year as a junior, Buzzard started in a reserve role, but was inserted into the starting lineup near the end of the season. Although the Spartans finished with a 9-20 record, Buzzard’s increased role coincided with a small winning streak at the end of the season.
This season, Buzzard will be a starter and again will be depended on to get the game into a more up-tempo style.
“We’re really going to count on him being a pest defensively, making us go with the press and applying pressure to the other teams’ point guards and perimeter players,” Stacy said. “Both him and his [twin brother Curt] out there together wreak a little bit of havoc out there and ... allow us to feed off our defense, which is something we want to try to do a little more this year.”
Buzzard admitted he wasn’t a confident offensive player last season. He spent a lot of the offseason in the gym, working with The Gun, a basketball shooting machine that allows players to attempt more shots in a shorter time.
“I’ve tried to work on [my shooting], trying to make some more 3s than last year,” Buzzard said. “My ball-handling, needed to get better at that, too.”
Sycamore returns an experienced group this season, and one that is familiar with Stacy’s coaching style in his second season as the Spartans’ coach. Buzzard hopes different results will follow as he continues to bring the same energy.
“It’s hard to switch one whole system to another,” Buzzard said. “We switched plays and everything, but so far it’s been a good transition. Last year was kind of a building year, but hopefully this year it’ll be different.”