Boys Basketball: Reavis’ Eddie Puha a hoops ‘throwback’
By Pat Disabato firstname.lastname@example.org December 11, 2013 9:08PM
Eduard Puha, of Revis, goes up for a shot against Hillcrest at Hillcrest, Tuesday, December 10th, 2013, in Country Club Hills. | Gary Middendorf~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: January 14, 2014 11:35AM
Eddie Puha makes sure to keep a basketball nearby at all times.
The urge to play a game of pick-up hoops can strike at any time.
Not just any game of pick-up, though.
Puha, a 6-foot-2 senior at Reavis, prefers the old-school method — at one of Burbank’s local playgrounds, be it Harr, Rice or Newcastle parks.
“I just show up, start shooting, wait for people to start arriving and try to hold the court until it gets dark,” Puha said.
To hold court means to keep winning, game after game, hour after hour. If your team loses, it must wait its turn to play again.
Puha’s teams rarely lose. In fact, the young man is sort of a playground legend in Burbank.
“I wouldn’t say legendary,” Puha said. “There have been times when we’ve held the court from noon to 8 (p.m.). I just go to the parks around Burbank and try to get better. It’s good competition. Hardly any fouls are called, so you have to be tough. It helps that you play in all (weather) conditions. It’s windy and cold sometimes. So when you go into the gym it’s easier.”
Reavis coach Jeff Smith, who promoted Puha to the varsity as a sophomore, referred to his prize player as a “throwback.”
“He’s a park legend in Burbank,” Smith said. “We’ve asked him to play the five (center) out of necessity. But he can play just about anywhere. We have him playing the three (small forward) and two (shooting guard) this year. Even some point guard.”
Unlike the majority of his peers, Puha doesn’t play AAU ball. A devout Christian, he attends church multiple times a week, which leaves little time for the demands of AAU.
“AAU teams are usually playing or practicing on days I have church,” Puha said. “I can’t miss church. I attend church on Sunday, Wednesday and whenever I can make it, on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”
His love of the game and devotion to his faith haven’t interrupted his classroom work. Puha boasts a 3.5 grade-point average (on a 4.0 scale).
He’s also flourishing on the court, averaging 21.4 points and 9.2 rebounds for the Rams, who are 6-1. A two-time All-South Suburban Red pick, Puha has the ability to score from the inside or outside, posing difficult match-ups for opponents. He also can handle the ball.
Despite his achievements, colleges exactly haven’t been knocking down his door. Smith is completely perplexed by this, but insists the college that lands Puha is going to be overjoyed.
“He’s a great kid and a great player,” Smith said. “Some small college is going to be very happy to get Eddie.”
Puha would prefer to play for a college that satisfies his Christian background.
“Before every game I pray at least two times, usually before the national anthem and when we’re in the tunnel getting ready to come out,” said Puha, one of five children to parents Maria and Sorin. “I would prefer to attend a college where faith comes first. But I’m open to anything right now.”