Boys Basketball: Stagg’s Max Strus growing his game
By Pat Disabato email@example.com January 29, 2014 8:14PM
Stagg's Max Strus | Jim Boyce/For Sun-Times Media
Updated: March 3, 2014 1:34PM
Max Strus knew it was a matter of when, not if, in regard to his body going through a growth spurt.
A year ago, Strus was a modest 6-foot-1 — mostly all legs.
Additionally, his older brother, Marty, is 6-10.
“My friends would ask, ‘Why aren’t you tall? Your brother is 6-10,’ ” Strus said. “I would just tell them that ‘I’m waiting.’ ”
The wait is over.
Strus grew four inches over the summer and stands 6-5. The additional height has made the Stagg senior, already one of the Southland’s premier scorers, even more explosive.
The proof is evident. Strus is averaging 19.4 points and 8 rebounds a game for the Chargers (14-5).
“Max gives our offense great flexibility,” Stagg coach John Daniels said. “I can post him if they go small on him. If they go big I can isolate him and let him drive. He played point guard as a sophomore for us, so he can handle pressure and take care of the ball. This makes it difficult for teams to press us because I can have a 6-5 point guard passing out of a trap. He can play four of the five spots on the floor.”
While the match-up possibilities have expanded his game, what Strus likes most about his increased height is his dunking prowess.
What used to be a hit-or-miss proposition has turned pretty much into a sure-fire throw-down, though Strus noted Daniels favors layups.
“He’s old-school,” said Strus of his coach. “He’ll go, ‘A layup is two points.’
“I can do some cool stuff with this height. I’ve always wanted to be able to dunk consistently.”
Strus’ ability to score from anywhere on the floor, whether spotting up or driving to the basket, demands respect from opponents. It doesn’t hurt, as Daniels noted, that Strus also is an above-average ballhandler.
Multiple Division II college programs have taken notice and made scholarship offers, including Ferris State, Quincy, Lewis and Lindenwood. One Division I program, Chicago State, also has offered.
Strus always has looked up to his older brother Marty, who starred at Lewis. Would he like to follow in his big brother’s footsteps to the Romeoville campus?
“I’m going to keep all my options open till after the season,” said Strus, a Hickory Hills resident and Conrady Junior High grad. “It’s been a dream of mine to play D-I. It would be cool. But I’m open to going to a D-II.”
For now, Strus, who also stars on the baseball diamond at Stagg, is focusing on leading the Chargers to conference and postseason success.
“Our ceiling is really high,” said Strus, who plays for the Windy City Magic AAU program. “We can still win conference and sneak out with a regional championship.”