Friday Night Sports Hero: Steven Garcia

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (KNOP) - Over the last two seasons, Steven Garcia has shot 35% (2019-2020) and 45% (‘18-‘19) from three. Garcia made 46 of his 103 attempts as a junior, and 59 of 170 as a senior, according to MaxPreps. Two times as a senior, Garcia hit seven three pointers in a game; on Jan. 10 against Columbus, and on Feb. 14 against Gering.

Garcia led the Bulldogs in scoring in 2019-20, averaging 13.4 points per game. (Credit: Patrick Johnstone/KNOP-TV)

"He's just had that tendency to knock down shots. He has quick release, just a natural shooter, and a confident shooter. When you think of Steven, you think of a guy that could just knock down shots in bundles, and we've relied on that quite a bit," said head coach Matt Kaminski.

Aside from having a natural shooting ability, Garcia has become such an efficient scorer through hard work.

"He's always been a strong shooter. He's really developed his game even more than just a one-dimensional player, his footwork and ability to get to the rim even at his size. He's a real tough player, he's able to create around the rim, and he’s really able to create for his teammates. I'd say that part of his game has really expanded as he's matured," Kaminski said.

"Honestly, don't really know when I was labeled a ‘good shooter,’” Garcia said. “I just really like to pick up the ball and just shoot outside of my house, just countless hours, and all that effort I put into it kind of helped with that."

According to Garcia, he puts up around 100 shots a day to practice. However, there have been days he’s gone to the North Platte Rec Center, and put up 400-500 shots.

Kaminski notices the hard work and effort Garcia exhibits. "He's 100%, 100% of the time. I've never seen him loaf, he's always going as hard as he can. He works on his footwork constantly and he's been a great example and leader for his teammates," he said.

Garcia has led North Platte in scoring the last two seasons, and when he is shooting well, his teammates try to get him the ball as much as possible.

"When he's hot, we have many plays for him. We just get him open and let him fly," teammate, and fellow senior, Derrek Ramos said.

Garcia scored a career-high 33 points in the Bulldogs’ first game of the season against Mitchell. In that game, he shot six of 11 from beyond the arc. In games like that, Garcia feels good about his shooting, and feels like the ball will always go in when it leaves his hands.
"There's been a couple times where I've known that's going in, and when I get that hot hand, I don't know what it is, but once I start shooting shots I can tell they're going in," Garcia said.

Garcia’s shooting ability makes opposing defenses focus on him when the ball is in his hands, which creates opportunities for his teammates.

"It really brings a lot more space to drive and create more, because everyone's trying to guard him, so it's just a big part of our offense having him," Ramos said.

However, sometimes the shots don’t fall for Garcia. When that happens, he makes up for it by working on his defense, and giving the ball to his teammates.

"When he's not making shots he's doing so much for us defensively,” Kaminski said. “Getting rebounds, running the court, getting to the free throw line, those are the kind of things that he's done well for us."