Janak takes on new role for Flyers
By TAYLOR MITHELL - TMITCHELL@VICAD.COM
Jan. 31, 2013 at 11 p.m.
Updated Jan. 30, 2013 at 7:31 p.m.
Cody Janak already had a tough assignment replacing Dean Vanek when St. Joseph began its season back in October.
However, in December Janak had to take on another role when teammate Luke Wenske was lost for most of the season with a stress fracture in his back.
"Cody's role was to hit the rebounds, score on the blocks, play defense for us and just be a contributor," said Flyers head coach Abraham Garcia. "Now, he's taken on a lot of the scoring role with Luke being out. Also, he's been a great leader."
Wenske was the focal point of the Flyers offense before injuring his back, averaging 16 points per game. Janak averaged 10 points per game in that time frame.
"I still have to be a big presence inside, but I have to score more points," Janak said. "Plus, I have to help my teammates get open and help them out."
Wenske injured his back early in the season before St. Joseph played any district games. However, it wasn't until late December when Garcia found out Wenske may miss the rest of the season.
"I believe Luke is done for the season. There is a small chance we could have him in the playoffs, if we get that far," Garcia said. "We don't know exactly what happened. All we know is he has a stress fracture in his back."
Janak, a 6-foot, 5-inch junior, was already a leader for St. Joseph, but the Wenske injury forced him to take on a much larger role. The transition into that role wasn't seamless, but overall it was a smooth one.
"It could've gone worse," Garcia stated.
What could've been a bad situation has actually been a good one for Janak, who says he has gotten better since becoming the focal point for St. Joseph. Not only has he become a better leader, Janak has gotten better at shooting from beyond the post.
"He's always been able to put the ball in the hole, but this year he seems to have gotten better at shooting the ball," Garcia said. "He's expanded his game to where he shoots from the perimeter."
More important, the new role has increased Janak's confidence, which has led to him becoming a better all-around player.
While the Flyers have handled the transition well over the last two months, the results haven't exactly been a mirror-image.
"We started off really strong in the beginning. But when Luke went out, I tried to step up and become a team leader," Janak said. "Our first couple of games in district weren't the greatest, but these past few games we've stepped it up."
One of the things that has helped St. Joseph, and is something Garcia preaches before every game, is the importance of the first three minutes of a game. The Flyers were able to start fast during last Tuesday's 56-44 victory over Corpus Christi Incarnate Word, scoring the first three baskets and getting the crowd excited.
It was Janak who brought the crowd to its feet in those first few minutes.
"We always talk about how important the first three minutes of the game are, coming out and getting shots," Garcia said. "We were able to defend and put some points on the board, which got the crowd going. With the way Cody plays, we want to try and get him going early."
Janak got in his groove early Tuesday night and had the St. Joseph fans stomping and cheering. But there is one thing Janak could do that might send the fans over the edge - a slam dunk.
"I know that will get the crowd and team going," Janak, who has yet to pull off the feat in a real game, said. "So, yeah, I want to do it one day."