Schaumburg's Christian Spandiary celebrates in the closing seconds of the the MSL championship game.
JOE LEWNARD | Staff Photographer
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One of the best games in the history of the successful Schaumburg boys basketball program could also be viewed as a defining moment for Christian Spandiary.
Spandiary's 40 points in a regional semifinal win over Proviso West were the most he's ever scored in a game. It was also the most for a Schaumburg player since Cully Payne scored 39 in 2008 and just a couple of 3-pointers shy of Kent Payne's 46 in the 1978-79 season.
And it was a feat accomplished with Spandiary taking a grand total of 14 shots from the field.
"I've matured in my basketball game and I'm not as wild and chucking up shots as I used to," said Spandiary, in his third year as a varsity starter. "I've tried to be more of a leader."
That's the best way to define Spandiary's game even though he is the Saxons' leading scorer at 16 points a game. If it's someone else's turn to take the scoring lead - which happened in the regional final when he finished with 6 points - that's just fine.
Three seasons with three regional titles, two Mid-Suburban West crowns and an MSL championship best defines the 2011-12 Cook County honorary captain of the Daily Herald's All-Area Boys Basketball Team.
"He's really epitomized what we want our team to be about, which is hard-working and successful," said Schaumburg coach Matt Walsh. "He's set a great example, especially for the younger players and a lot of talented juniors.
"He took the next step after a very good junior year. His work ethic, his focus and his determination has really rubbed off on our entire team."
Because the 6-foot-3 Spandiary will do whatever it takes - battle inside defensively against bigger players, shoot rainmaking 3-pointers or make the extra pass - to achieve the most important statistic of all.
Spandiary had played his part in it as a sophomore and junior as an instrumental part in the Saxons' postseason success. Now, he knew it was his turn to follow the examples set by Declan Geraghty and Javon McDonald in those two seasons.
"I looked up to them on the court and I try to be that example to everyone else," Spandiary said.
"He's one of the most popular kids in the entire school because of the way he treats people," Walsh said. "He's a kind, considerate and personable young man other people want to be around.
"He's really helped our team with how much he's matured and he's really become our team leader this year. Not only did he mature himself and take the next step but he made sure his teammates were ready day in and day out."
That included working at his game to become what Walsh called "a matchup nightmare" with his ability to force bigger defenders outside and take smaller ones inside.
Spandiary also credited playing against his older brother Josh, a Schaumburg football and basketball standout who graduated in 2009, for making him the player he is now.
Ironically, Christian Spandiary has operated off the radar a bit since he concentrated on working and playing basketball for Schaumburg in the summer rather than on the AAU circuit.
Spandiary, who has a 2.87 grade-point average on a 4.0 scale, wants to play in college and study special education, but interest so far has been light.
"He'd be an absolute steal for whatever college fortunate enough to have him," Walsh said of the MSL West Player of the Year.
A player who truly understands the definition of being a good teammate.
"We're all good friends, we have great chemistry and we really get along well," Spandiary said of this year's 24-5 team which faces unbeaten Proviso East in Friday night's sectional final. "This has been the best time of my whole life."
Whether he's scoring 40 or 4 points.