Trapps knows ups, downs of college hoops

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Sports Talk

By Robert Howey



     Ron Trapps, in one season, has experienced the highs and lows of college basketball.

Trapps, the former Lancaster High School basketball star, is “going dancing” in his hoops shoes.

Trapps’ hardwood moves might not be as nimble as they could be, but nonetheless he’s going to be grooving in March Madness.

Trapps, a redshirt freshman at Big South regular-season South Division and tournament champion Coastal, has his coveted ticket after the 21-12 Chanticleers downed Winthrop, 76-61 for the bid to the 2014 NCAA tournament which opens next week.

He would surely like to have a bigger role with the Chants, but, as they say, it is what it is, so Trapps is savoring the special moment.

Sunday, March 9 was Coastal’s red-letter day as the Chants downed the Eagles for the Big South tournament crown.

“It was crazy,” said Trapps. “Our fans stormed the court and I signed autographs and took pictures. 

“We also cut down the nets and that’s something I’ve never done in my basketball career,” he said. “Later, I received texts and calls from former teammates and friends.”

Trapps, in the unfamiliar role of coming off the bench at this early stage in his college basketball career, would have to be considered achieving just being a part of the team.

In his true freshman year last season after a solid career at Fork Union Military Academy and Lancaster High, Trapps’ season ended before it started.

Early in the first practice of his Coastal career, Trapps suffered a ruptured patellar tendon.

The serious knee injury wiped out his freshman season and led to a medical redshirt for the 2012-13 campaign. The injury kept him sidelined until after the Christmas break this season. He’s seen some action, but nothing like he’s known as a full-time ace player at LHS and Fork Union.

Trapps noted most players don’t return from the injury.

“Fifty percent who have this injury don’t come back,” he said. “I lost all function in my left knee.”

The patellar tendon is the structure that connects the kneecap (patella) to the shin bone (tibia).

“It’s an uphill battle,” he said. “You want to be out there, but it takes patience. I’ve gone from being ‘the guy’ to the guy who doesn’t play. The hardest part is accepting a lesser role.”

Trapps has embraced his situation as much as possible, averaging 2.7 points a game in 55 minutes of play, with 27 points in 10 games.

In what has likely been his biggest contribution, Trapps, even at less than 100 percent, has provided the competition in practice to help prepare the Chants for the challenge of taking the tourney title after winning their division crown.

“We go hard in practice,” Trapps said. “The practices are a challenge as we emulate what they will face in games. We go at them hard each day. I told those boys, we deserve some credit because we helped to prepare them.

“As a competitor, I’d like to be out there more, but you do what’s best of the team. I’m looking at the big picture.

“You don’t want to be a cancer to the team,” he said. “Being mad is not going to help anybody.”

Coastal, in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in 21 seasons, will likely be in a tourney play-in game, but Trapps is confident.

“I think we’re one of the better mid-majors,” Trapps said. “We’ve played some larger schools well, like losing to Ole Miss at the buzzer. We have our share of talent. Eric Smith came here from South Carolina where he started last year, but doesn’t start for us now. That shows how good we are.

“In college, I’ve learned it’s not always the best players, but the players who can best execute what the coach wants. We have talent and an experienced coach in Coach Ellis who has taken three other teams to the NCAAs in Clemson, Auburn and the University of Alabama at Birmingham.”

Trapps is looking to the future, immediate and what’s down the road.

“It’s exciting about the tournament,” Trapps said. “I’m working hard and I feel I’ll be 100 percent by the summer. I have three more years to play and I’m looking forward to next year.”

That’s reason to dance, even if it’s some pain with the thrill.