Joe Padula is what you call a stat-stuffer.
He's one of those basketball players who does a little bit of everything on the court. A key factor on any team.
Padula is a senior at East High School on a team with balance that is 9-6 overall, 1-1 in the South-Central League.
The Eagles have a some experience, some height, some speed. It's all added up to a strong start to the first half of the season.
The 6-foot-5 Padula is third on the team in scoring at 9.3 points a game.
He's second in rebounding at 6.5 per game and second in blocked shots.
In addition, he averages better than one steal a game and shoots a healthy 50 percent from the field. His only Achilles Heel -- free-throw shooting (56 percent).
"Have to have those guys (like Padula).
They are important to your team," East coach Mike Massaro said. "He doesn't always show up in statline. He rebounds, defense and gets secondchance points. He helps the helper and does all those things that don't get praised. He's huge for us."
Padula compares himself to one of the best all-around players of the
1980s -- Dennis Rodman.
"One of my favorite players," Padula said about the controversial Rodman, who wore wild outfits and inserted earrings in his ears, nose and face. "I love Rodman. Actually, I'm like him in that he always attacked the boards, was always diving out of bounds and is lanky."
Padula went on to characterize and expand on how he plays the game.
"If I just work harder than the other guys, I can have success," he said. "I don't have shooting or dribbling skills like a lot of players. It's all about the hustle, in my opinion.
"I'm a hard-worker, dedicated. I kind of understand the game, know a lot of positions on the floor and know what they are doing.
That gives me an advantage."
Positioning is Padula's strength. He oftentimes get to spots before his opponent and that enables him to achieve success."
Padula isn't a big scorer and doesn't shoot that often. Yet, he does put up numbers.
"I don't throw up too many shots and could be better because I miss a lot of bunnies," Padula said. "My team creates a lot of good shots for me."
Massaro said Padula is a quite leader.
"He doesn't say much but when its game time he's ready," Massaro said. "His effort is there every night. He leads more by example.
"He's very cerebral, smart about the game.
He has good ideas and is always in right place right time. Slippery.
He has a knack for the ball."
Padula believes his team can challenge South and Pueblo West in the S-CL.
"I feel like this team is very diverse," he said. "It's the tallest team we've had in a while at East. We have rebounding and speed and some guys who can stroke (shoot) it.
"We all have the same goal in mind. We don't have a lot of 'I' guys.
Coaches has taught us a lot about playing as a team."
Padula also played football this past fall for the Eagles and believes that could be his best path in college.
"I have a better chance to play football because basketball is such a tall sport," he said. "I definitely want to play at the next level."
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