By MATT SCHUCKMAN
Herald-Whig Sports Editor
Sean Taylor didn't want to be disrespectful to the players who have upheld the Quincy High School boys basketball tradition during his first 10 seasons as head coach.
But each day he sees Lincoln Elbe work to improve his game, Taylor wonders if anyone has worked harder.
"He's committed himself to being a really good basketball player more than anybody since I've been here," Taylor said. "We've had a lot of guys who have made great commitments. With Lincoln, every day he's worked to get better. So I think he's ready."
Not only to play, but to lead.
Elbe, a 5-foot-8 junior, is taking over the point guard role this season and has embraced being a leader of this team. It started during the summer when the Blue Devils traveled to Las Vegas and went 6-0 in winning an AAU tournament. It's carried over to the weight room and the court, where his determination and desire is infectious.
"He wants to be the leader of this team," senior forward Connor Mellon said. "We want him to lead this team."
As senior guard Zach Burry said, "It's time for him."
Elbe believes that's the case.
"I'm ready," he said. "I want to do this."
That should come as no surprise.
The son of former John Wood Community College coach Mike Elbe, Lincoln grew up in a household where challenges existed at every turn. His older brother, Harrison, developed into a hard-nosed, lockdown defender for the Blue Devils and helped Lincoln develop his toughness in driveway games.
That now shows on the court.
"He's not going to back down," Taylor said. "He's going to give you everything."
Like his coaches, Elbe knows he has limitations. His size and strength are factors, but he compensates for it by being aggressive, smart and under control.
"His skill set is really, really good," Taylor said.
He also has the uncanny ability to calm the Blue Devils down when things go haywire.
"You can tell he's the son of a coach," Taylor said.
It's easy to see he's brimming with confidence, too. It's been that way since the trip to Las Vegas.
"That's when I started to think, ‘Hey, we're going to be a good team,'" Elbe said.
And he plans to steer the Blue Devils in that direction.