In his first two years on the Concord varsity basketball team, Kendall Knorr paid close attention to the team's leaders.
"I took notes on how to get to people and keep their minds right," he said. "I've had some good leaders in front of me and that's who I've modeled myself after."
The junior hopes that will pay off, as he takes ownership of a talented Concord team preparing to make a playoff run.
"His leadership on and off the court has been tremendous for this team," said Spiders' coach Scott Brewer, explaining that Knorr's knack for the game has also been a big boost for Concord.
"He not only knows what he's supposed to be doing, but also what everyone else is supposed to be doing."
Knorr, who said he learned a lot from former Spiders Roger Smith and Griffin Templeton, is constantly communicating and showing the way for the team.
"He's like a coach on the floor," said Brewer.
Knorr's varsity experience has a lot to do with that, but Brewer thinks it's more than that.
"Some kids just have that innate ability to see the game a little slower, and he's one of those kids," said Brewer. "Even as fast as we play... he's always a thought ahead."
That shows, as Knorr is averaging five assists a game, a team high for a Spiders team averaging more than 90 points a game.
With five players scoring in double figures, the 6-foot-3 guard has been one of the top two scorers all season long, averaging 14 points a game.
What's most impressive is Knorr's 69 percent shooting inside and his 40.2 shooting from 3-point range.
"I let the game come to me," he said, explaining that he finds way to contribute even when his shot isn't falling. "I try to assert myself however I'm playing that game."
But Knorr, who has shown tremendous improvement after averaging eight points a game being the Spiders' main facilitator last year, said he doesn't pay much attention to the numbers.
"I'm not into all these stats. I just want to win," he said. "Winning is all that matters to me."
The Spiders have been dominant for most of the season, defeating teams by more than 25 points a game. But Knorr admitted the Spiders had started to get complacent. Concord's two losses in as many weeks - to Northwest Cabarrus and Hickory Ridge - has changed that.
"That might have been the best thing that might have happened to us - to get our heads back on and say 'wow, we can be beat,'" he said.
The Spiders, the state 3A runner-ups last season, were still fighting for a South Piedmont Conference title, which would have been the team's fifth in a row, before this article went to print. Aside from the late-season losses, Brewer has been happy with the team.
"This team has had a great chemistry," said Brewer. "It's because we have special kids."
"This team's attitude has been great all year," he said. "Everyone's playing great; we're playing unselfishly. It's been a wonderful year so far and I hope we keep it going."
Knorr has gotten a lot of help from senior guard Jacquise Moore, who leads the team in scoring with 15.4 a game.
Forward Xavier Stywall (13 ppg) as well as guards Darren Black (11.6) and Will Vandenburg (10.4) have also made big contributions for a Concord team that goes 10 players deep.
"Our team is very balanced," said Knorr.
The 16-year-old is excited about this week's SPC tournament and for playoffs to get under way next week.
"This is when being a Concord Spider is the best," said Knorr.
Coming so close to a state title last year, he has one simple goal for the Spiders: to win.
Brewer said his team , which was ranked No. 1 in 3A for a large part of the year, should be ready for the challenge.
"We're playing some our best ball of the season," he said. "Everybody's bought into what we're doing."