By JOSH RIZZO
Herald-Whig Sports Writer
PAYSON, Ill. -- Cody Hildebrand was honest about his desires.
He needed to be honest about his deficiencies, too.
Three years ago, as a freshman at Payson Seymour, Hildebrand told Indians coach Brian Rea he wanted to be a college basketball player.
To achieve that, Hildebrand could never stop improving. The only way to track that was through a journal, something Hildebrand had to keep himself.
"I thought if he wants to reach his goals there has to be a daily thought process that he goes through and is honest with himself," Rea said. "Most players are not honest with themselves about how they played. They score points and don't play defense or rebound or do other things for their team, then people tell them they played a great game, when they played a great offensive game.
"I try to get him to be completely honest with himself daily, whether he improved, stayed the same or took a step back. I thought the best way would be for him to journalize it."
Hildebrand hasn't quit jotting down his thoughts just yet.
Despite scoring 23.2 points per game during the season-opening Pittsfield Turkey Tournament and netting a career-high 41 points in season-opening victory over Griggsville-Perry, Hildebrand refuses to be satisfied.
There are too many things to jot down.
"It was a good start, but I have to give credits to my teammates for giving me the ball where I'm most successful," Hildebrand said. "I'm not satisfied with the way I played defense, if I had played better I would have gotten more steals and convert it into offense."
Hildebrand would like to rebound better and rotate to the ball quicker. Even with his hot start, Hildebrand thought improved defensive play would raise his offensive game.
What he doesn't have to worry about is the ability to score in transition.
"(They get me the ball) in transition, getting the rebound and getting it out to me quick on the sideline, allowing me to take the ball down and get an open look or setting screens," Hildebrand said.
What makes Hildebrand special is his work ethic. In practice, Rea said Hildebrand is always focused on improving.
"He's a gym rat and he loves to play and wants to improve," Rea said. "He is always asking what he needs to do to get better. If I say he needs to improve on something he says he will do that next time. What makes him special is the willingness to put in the time and work that so many kids in so many programs across the country don't want to put in to be great. They just want it to happen."
Hildebrand hopes the journal will lead to improvement and open a path for him to play in college.
"It talks about what I can to get better, what I did good and the mistakes I made," Hildebrand said. "What I can do to change that so it doesn't happen again and how I did overlap during that practice or game."