11/10/2017 4:57:00 AM Duck Ponderings: Sneed carried spirit of Hauser basketball
About David Webster
From Lovett to Hope, David Webster, former Hope 5th grade teacher, pulls his writings from great people and great experiences.
While we were in England visiting our daughter, Jeff Sneed left this life on earth but left behind many wonderful memories. I had the pleasure of knowing Jeff through working with his children in fifth grade, while playing sports against and with him, and when making improvements to our home.
When playing in a competitive volleyball league in Greensburg, I was asked if I might know of a player from the Hope area that might join our team. I immediately thought of Jeff due to playing against him in recreational volleyball leagues in Hope and by knowing he was quite the athlete who would quickly help our squad. After the first match, other teammates were wondering why it was the first time for seeing Jeff in action on the volleyball court. I don't recall the year, but I do recall that Jeff still had an impressive vertical and could put the ball down. We went on to win the league.
Phil Pickens, Jeff's basketball coach in seventh grade, asked me to come out of softball retirement to play on a team he was putting together with younger and older players. Jeff was on that team, always consistent on defense and in hitting. Most importantly, he was a team player, willing to do whatever was asked of him. Once again, we won the league.
Our home needed some new patio doors and other work. I didn't hesitate to call on Jeff and his brother, David. I never had to be concerned about their workmanship! In addition, their charges were always extremely fair!
I had forgotten about him holding the county scoring record of 51 points in a game in 1973, jumping ahead of Hauser's Ed Dailey who scored 41 points on October 5th, 1965. Unfortunately, I was not even aware of Hope at that time while seeking a teaching degree at Indiana State University. I arrived in Hope and at Hope Elementary as a fifth grade teacher in 1974.
With the alumni basketball game quickly approaching. I felt one of the best ways I could honor Jeff, besides giving a donation to the athletic department in his name, would be to take another look at that historic game. I went to our local library and got into our marvelous collection of the Hope Star-Journal. In addition, I called Jeff's coach that season, Butch Jordan.
First of all, I think about all the great basketball players from this county which makes the record even more impressive. Second of all , I think about how the 3-point shot was not in existence in 1973 and how it has been in existence for years now. It is my understanding that Jeff could efficiently shoot from all over the court, including long distance. Still, after all these years, Jeff Sneed has the county scoring record, surely placing him among the best of players from Bartholomew County ever!
According to Coach Jordan, Jeff was "stoic," the same no matter if he was scoring, rebounding, making an assist, being fouled, or fouling. He stayed collected. I noticed that characteristic too while playing volleyball and softball with him.
In the game against New Palestine which we won 99-73, Jeff had 30 points after the third quarter. The team realized he was shooting the ball well. Within the Hope Star-Jorunal, I found these words: "Teamwork was very much in evidence in the game. The other team members fed the ball to Jeff during that fourth quarter to help him get the 21 points during the last quarter." I think it makes a strong statement about the character of that team and Jeff. According to stats in the paper and stats that Coach Jordan still recalls, Jeff had 17 FG, 17 FT, 8 A, & 6 R. That's quite the game for quite the person! Undoubtedly, we will be thinking about Jeff and others who have brought life to our small town of Hope over the years through basketball during the alumni game.