Junior Sam Amsbaugh continues to grow his game


(Photo: Jayde Vogeler/The Simpsonian)

by Erich Bogner, Sports Reporter

INDIANOLA, Iowa — Sam Amsbaugh is the biggest post scoring threat on Simpson’s basketball team, but you wouldn’t know it by looking at him.

At 6 feet 5 inches tall and 215 pounds, Amsbaugh looks like he belongs on the wing playing small forward or maybe a power forward that stretches the floor and scores from the outside, but most of Amsbaugh’s points come from the paint.

Amsbaugh has cultivated his unconventional post style throughout his time at Simpson and has improved every year.

His freshman year, he averaged just over five points a game, pulled down an average of 2.5 rebounds per game and shot a team-best 54.2 percent from the field.

Last season was Amsbaugh’s breakout season. He averaged 15 points and 6.1 rebounds per game and shot 49 percent, all of which led the team. He was an IIAC player of the week, Simpson’s most valuable player, made the All-IIAC Academic Team and was named to the All-IIAC First Team.

“With Coach (Bjorkgren) coming in, we kind of opened up the offense more,” Amsbaugh said. The guys around me were all good shooters, so it opened things up down low, and I took advantage of that, I guess.”

This season, Amsbaugh picked up where he left off and is doing even better despite being the focal point of opponents’ defenses.

“He draws a lot of double teams, so that opens up opportunities for the rest of us,” senior guard Austin Turner said. “He’s a pick-and-pop guy. So when he pops he draws a lot of double teams and that opens up driving lanes.”

Amsbaugh said when he gets doubled, it allows him to pass the ball to the open man and get an assist.

While the opposing teams try their best to prevent Amsbaugh from scoring, they have not been very successful this season. He is averaging 21.4 points per game, almost eight rebounds per game and just about two assists per game.

Some players can score 21 points per game by taking a lot of shots and only making a low percentage of them, but Amsbaugh is not one of those players. He has the highest field goal percent of his career, making 58.1 percent of his shots.

Even though Amsbaugh’s accolades are impressive, he is not satisfied. He said he cares more about the team winning than scoring a lot of points.