As we bring the curtain down on another high school basketball season, we reflect upon those who have accomplished great feats during the 2013-14 campaign. There were the thousand, and in Parise Rossignol of Van Buren’s case, two-thousand point career scorers. There were the all-tournament selections, players who rose above all, guiding their respective clubs deep into postseason play. Over the next week, numerous all-star events will be played, showcasing the state’s best talent over the past season. Mr. and Miss basketball will be named and many news publications will announce their all-state selections.
These players have received or will garner several accolades, and deservedly so, for their excellence on the hardwood. For every one of those honored, the majority of participants in high school athletics will not make headlines. Most live in the shadows, possibly playing sparingly in a one-sided game, competing at the sub-varsity level, or serve as the team statistician or manager. For these participants the experience can be no less fulfilling, no less meaningful.
Meet Tom Hanscom. Hanscom, a junior at John Bapst Memorial High School in Bangor, played this past basketball season on the junior varsity team. After raining in three-point baskets in the JV game Tom’s night is far from over. By the way, don’t leave Hanscom all alone on the court, he can really shoot it. This was made evident by his five three-point goals in a half at Lee this winter. Following the game, Hanscom changes up quickly, grabs a statistics sheet and keeps numbers for the varsity contest.
At 16, the Orrington resident and eldest son of Kevin and Jana Hanscom, is starting to compile quite the resume. The seed was planted during Tom’s freshmen year when John Bapst Head Football Coach Dan O’Connell was substituting in his math class. During class the conversation turned to football and Coach O’Connell noticed Hanscom had a keen interest in numbers and statistics. Tom was encouraged to help with football during his sophomore year keeping basic down and distance numbers. According to O’Connell, Tom’s responsibilities grew even more this past season as he was charged with sending the statistics to the Little Ten Conference’s website and to the league commissioner, Mike Archer.
The avid Boston Red Sox fan served this past summer as the assistant communications director at the Senior League World Series. There he helped coordinate the post game press conferences, checking with media who they wished to interview following the contests and coordinating those contacts.
For Tom’s junior basketball season Hanscom began keeping all statistics for the boys varsity basketball team, in addition to playing in the junior varsity contests. Upon recommendation of Dan O’Connell, Boys Basketball Coach and Athletic Administrator Rick Sinclair brought him on board in this role. For the first couple contests Sinclair would review the game films to ensure the statistics were accurate. Following the first two regular season games Coach Sinclair no longer needed to double check the stats, Hanscom was spot on. The veteran coach said he has never had anyone better than Tom Hanscom in this role.
During this recent tournament week, while many of his peers would be in the stands, faces pressed to their smartphones while action was going on, you could find Hanscom sitting at the press table with WZON radio. Donning headphones and with a scorebook at his disposal, he listened intently to the broadcasts while meticulously keeping the statistics. He was quick to provide any pertinent nugget to augment the commentary. According to WZON’s sports director Toby Nelson, the announcers would mention a player and Hanscom would be on the spot to provide a key statistic. Hanscom loved every minute, although he did admit to getting a bit bleary eyed by the end of the week. Think about it, forty-two games keeping field goal percentages, rebounds, assists, and the like for both teams. Impressive, indeed. So confident was Tom in his work that he kept his stats in pen, the most permanent of writing utensils.
In assessing Hanscom’s addition to the broadcast team over the week, Nelson said that he was great and was a welcomed addition to the coverage. He said if he wishes to come back next year he would love to have him back.
Make no mistake, Tom Hanscom is NOT your stereotypical, socially awkward “stats geek”. In speaking with John Bapst senior basketball captain Colby Kohn, Hanscom is one of the friendliest and one of the most liked kids in school. He is always quick to come up to you and say hi. Kohn also said that it’s obvious Tom loves sports. Talking to Rick Sinclair about Tom, he mentioned that he has a great personality and can take good-natured ribbing and give it back as well.
With any conversation with Tom, it’s very easy to forget you are speaking with a 16 year old high school junior. In fact, few adults I deal with on a regular basis are as engaging to speak with as Tom is. The affable high honors student is quiet yet personable and carries himself with a maturity well beyond his years. He stated he has enjoyed sports since he was very young and likes the statistical work he does almost as much as he does playing.
Hanscom, whose brother Darren played this past season on the freshmen basketball team at the Bangor based school, also has competed the past two seasons on the Crusaders’ junior varsity baseball team. In addition to his five three-pointers in one half effort at Lee, his athletic highlight this year was when his JV basketball team won their final game of the season at Foxcroft Academy. It was the only time the youthful Crusaders tasted victory this season.
So what might the future hold for young Mr. Hanscom? He would like to stay involved with statistics down the road. Wherever Tom ends up going to college, he should connect with the basketball coach and get involved with their sports information department, said Rick Sincliar. Sinclair also believes he will end up having some sort of career working with numbers, possibly as an accountant some day. Toby Nelson has high praise stating that he’s a great kid, focused, and the sky is the limit!
Speaking for myself, one of the great privileges I have being involved with high school and youth sports is the number of great people, young and old alike, I get to meet along the way. Few people I have come to admire more than Tom Hanscom. From his warm personality, to his radiant smile, to his dedication and focus in everything he does, this kid is a true winner in every sense of the word. Our lives are enriched for those of us fortunate enough to call him friend. Our sports culture throughout the state is better because of people like Tom Hanscom.