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Basketball star follows brothers on the court

DARRELL MOODY
Nevada Appeal Sports Writer
Cathleen Allison/Nevada Appeal Six-foot-4 senior Tannar Wood is a leader on the court at Dayton High School.
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DAYTON ” There might as well be a big target squarely on Tannar Wood’s back this season.

The 6-foot-4 senior center returns for his senior year at Dayton High School as the leading scorer and rebounder for a team that reached the state finals for the fourth straight season.

Not only will he be the center of attention for opposing teams, but he’s being asked to be the Dust Devils’ on-court leader, too. Neither is an easy task, but Wood has welcomed the challenges with open arms.

“I’ve felt a lot of pressure trying to become a leader,” he said. “Our first couple of games it was tough; we were panicking.

“They (my teammates) understand I know a lot about basketball and know that I’m trying to help. If a teammate does something good, I’ll tell him what a great job he did.

If he does something wrong I’ll tell him not to worry about it. I might tell him to do something a different way.”

Dayton coach T.W. Cunningham said there is really no other choice for an on-court leader.

“He’s the one guy that we have back who has played some serious minutes,” Cunningham said. “He definitely needs to be a leader. He’s done a good job of it so far.”

Foul trouble more than anything else may have affected Wood’s on-court performance a bit last weekend. He did score 18 points last Saturday to lead the Dust Devils over Wooster in the third-place game at the Sutro Classic, but he struggled a bit on Thursday and Friday.

“I have to remember that I can’t do everything,” Wood said. “It’s a team effort. Everyone needs to play great.”

One of the things lacking right now is Wood’s mid-range game. The DHS senior wasn’t happy with the way he shot the ball during the recent Sutro Classic.

“I’m pushing the ball instead of shooting it,” Wood said. “A lot of it is rhythm. If I can get into a good rhythm, I’m going to make more shots.”

“He’s been working on it,” Cunningham said. “He’s shooting the ball a little flat right now. Once shots start to fall from there, he’s going to be a force.”

Wood is a two-sport star. He just concluded his second season on the Dayton football squad and earned second-team honors. He is one of the best athletes in the school.

“He had a target on his back,” said Rick Walker, the Dust Devils’ head football coach. “We didn’t throw the ball much. I think the last four games he had three catches each game.”

When you ask Wood what his favorite sport is, he smiles and hesitates before answering.

“I would have to say basketball because it’s basketball season,” Wood said. “I love football, though; love playing it.”

FOLLOWING IN FOOTSTEPS

It shouldn’t be a huge surprise that Wood is so good. It runs in the family.

Two of his older brothers, Trent and Travis, were both basketball and football stars for the Dust Devils. His dad played sports at Carson High and his mother played soccer and volleyball in Southern California.

“My parents understand the pressures of sports,” Tannar Wood said. “They are sensitive. My dad critiques me after every game. It’s fine.”

One can only imagine some of the games played at the family home over the years. Wood admits that his two older brothers helped pave the way for him.

“We had a hoop in the backyard,” said Wood, who is now taller than both Travis and Trent. “We would play 1 on 1 or 2 on 2. When I was younger, they would pound on me and push me to the ground. As I grew bigger, I would get back at them and beat them.”

Travis Wood just chuckled when told what his younger brother said.

“We’d duke it out a little bit,” Travis said. “We toughened him up a little bit. He seems like a pretty tough kid now.”

Certainly having two older brothers helped Wood make a quicker adjustment to high school athletics.

“They taught me a lot of things,” he said. “Trent taught me how to shoot. I’d like to be strong shooters like them.”

Wood never played sports at Dayton with Trent, but he played varsity football and basketball with Travis, who was a reserve quarterback on the Sacramento City College football squad this season.

“He was always practicing (basketball) with me and Trent,” Travis said. “He wanted to play varsity as quickly as he could. He watched how Erik Hopper and I did things with our senior group.

“I’m sure there was pressure on him trying to be as good as Trent and I. He’s probably better than me now. I think he’s a pretty good leader on his team.”

Walker, who has coached all three of them, said it was tough to compare them.

“Trent had great hops and was very athletic,” Walker said. “Travis was very cerebral.

Tannar is a big kid and moves well for his size. They all worked hard, though I think Trent was allergic to the weight room.

“Tannar had a little more of a nasty streak in him; not a dirty player at all. He would really get fired up.”

And, no doubt Cunningham hopes Wood can light a fire under his teammates the entire season.

– Contact Darrell Moody at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling 881-1281