CLC's sophomore forward earns Player of the Week honor
Ethan Sage, a sophomore forward at the College of Lake County (CLC), recently received the National Junior College Athletic Association Region IV Player of the Week award.
In an email interview with the Lake County Gazette, Sage said he was told about being chosen for the honor by an assistant coach right before the team left on a road trip.
Although Sage was shocked at the time, as winning the award sunk in, his thoughts turned to his coaches and teammates.
“The award was an awesome accomplishment, but my play is in correlation with just trying to do things the right way and help myself and my teammates become a better team and better players themselves,” he said.
Sage, a Lindenhurst native and graduate of Lakes Community High School, didn't start playing basketball until the sixth grade. Football and baseball were his first loves, but he did want to get into hoops.
Then, his sixth-grade math teacher saw him in gym class and asked Sage to try out.
“Ever since then, I've been constantly trying to improve my game and improve myself as a player and person,” Sage said.
He went on to have a stellar career at Lakes, earning a spot on the Special Mention All-State Team from the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association in 2015, as well as making the All-North Suburban Conference First team, among numerous other honors.
According to Sage, he had plans to go to other schools after his time at Lakes, but money and distance-related considerations -- plus his desire to pursue a major in business -- left him wondering where the right spot for him would be. Last year, he signed up at CLC and asked Head Coach Chuck Ramsey if there was an opportunity to play.
Ramsey got back to him quickly with an affirmative answer, he said. Sage did not play last season because of grades, but he got his situation corrected and returned this season.
“I have became such a better person and player in my time here at CLC,” he said. “Ramsey is one of the best at what he does, and I have all the respect in the world for him and what he's been able to do for me personally and athletically.”
A big focus for the program, Sage added, centers on building character and making that part of the journey beyond CLC.
“I bought in and fixed my problems I had with myself, and I am very thankful for that and the coaches here at CLC,” he said.
Sage said this season is about finishing strong; the Lancers were 2-8 after the first 10 games.
“We work hard everyday in practice and grind out every day and game with great energy,” he said. “We just need to figure out how to be successful together. And, hopefully, after this season, we have things to show that we made it work.”