By Bob Frischmann
Dietrick Sooter is starting to pick up right where he left off in his prep career as a prolific, record-setting scorer. The freshman guard led all scorers Sunday (Dec. 13) and STLCC-Meramec to a 84-34 thrashing of Harry S. Truman College (Chicago) in the first game of the Meramec Juco Shoot Out.
Sooter put on a shooting clinic in the first half against Truman, dropping 18 points on the Falcons, to go with 5 steals. Head coach Randy Albrecht was pleased with the performance of the walk-on player from Pierce City, MO, a town of 1,200 just south of Joplin.
"Dietrick Sooter showed a lot of heart out there, great shooting performance, but the steals, the ball handling, the great assists the second half - I think his defense was really solid. I think he definitely was a leader out there for us," said Albrecht, a member of three halls of fame as a basketball coach.
Sooter, who set a state high school record this past year with 10 three pointers in one half, has scored 50 and 60 points in respective prep games for Pierce City High as a senior. Against Truman, the Magic starting guard said coach Albrecht challenged him to show his instinctive scoring skills.
"Coach gave me the green light, told me not to be hesitant, just to shoot the ball and that gave me more confidence," said Sooter. "Once one went in, I started feeling it and kept shooting the ball and they just kept going in, luckily."
One shot was definitely not the product of luck. Sooter was driving to the basket, taking on his defender one-on-one, when he launched a one-handed floated from a side angle to the basket, banking the ball high off the top of the glass and through the net for a Kobe Bryant-like circus shot.
"Coach told me one day in practice I needed to develop a floater so I've been staying after for about an hour or two everyday practicing that," said Sooter. "The kid trying stealing the ball, so I jabbed in and went to the hole and then floated it off the glass. Practice makes perfect I guess."
Sooter only played briefly in the second half as Meramec's lead quickly expanded from the 46-13 halftime score. He finished with a game high 18 points 5 rebounds, 5 steals, and 3 assists. Sooter drained four of six three point attempts. For Albrecht, seeing Sooter's success has been refreshing.
"I know he's been looking for kind of a breakout game and I think this could be it," said the veteran coach. "He really had his stroke down. It's such a really good story right now coming from a walk-on from a little town down in southwest Missouri to come in here and become a key player in our program."