Tanner Radke is having somewhat of a resurgence for Cedar Park.
One year after a season in which he started on varsity and moved between junior varsity and the varsity bench for the rest of the year, Radke is having a fantastic season and has become the Timberwolves’ most potent offensive weapon.
“On the court, I’ve picked up my intensity,” he said. “When you feel you can play and you know you’re going to play a lot you practice harder so you can be the most prepared to step up and be ready.”
“I wanted it more this year because I got a taste and wanted to contribute.”
As a sophomore last season, he didn’t play much, especially as the season wore on. It was tough for him because he loves the game and he felt he could contribute, but it was good because he could watch and learn.
That’s helped him learn the intricacies of the Cedar Park offense as well as any other player. And while he does the things that don’t show up in the box score well, he also gets rebounds and assists on top of his improved scoring numbers.
“The biggest difference with Tanner from a year ago is confidence,” Cedar Park head coach Blake Brown said. “He understands our offense really well and he does all the little things. All of that is because he’s always in the right place.”
He poured in 20 points and made five 3-pointers in the Timberwolves’ 63-52 loss to Rouse in December. He cut the lead to single digits with a trio of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, but the Raiders’ lead was too big to overcome.
Another aspect Radke attributes to his improved game are the seniors on the team that encourage him to stay focused, always be mindful of how he practices and prepares for games.
“We’ve all seen him in practice and we know he can shoot lights out,” senior captain Ryan Spyker said. “This season, he’s come out and done well. He’s been able to shoot lights out and he’s the main focus for the other teams as far as our shooters. I’m proud of him for taking that role.”
Radke does a little of everything including assisting, rebounding and stealing. But he set his primary role as a scorer. Some of that is out of necessity since all-district honoree and Incarnate Word-signee Keaton Hervey has yet to see the floor this season.
“It was a learning experience for Tanner last year,” Brown said. “It’s like a lot of players at this level when they work at it as freshmen they’re going to be a little wiser and ready for all the things they’re going to experience. He doesn’t play selfish and he works for the team.”
The Timberwolves last made the state tournament in 2015 when they made it to the semifinals. They’re 6-6 overall this season and 2-2 in district play, on the outside of the playoffs looking in early on in district play.
Cedar Park travels to Elgin Friday night before hosting East View on Tuesday. Both games are set to start at 7 p.m.
“It helped me a lot to mess up in the game and come out and see how I could fix it,” Radke said. “As the season progressed I didn’t play as much. I practiced harder and focused more. I learned more about the little things about what to do right.”