When you're a 10th grader, getting varsity game time is really a big deal.
This is especially true when playing on a team with a group of hard working and talented seniors ... and, that team is in a league with a hefty dose of older, more experienced players.
Add to the fact that not only do you make regular appearances in varsity games; but, that you do it after you've already played three or four quarters of a JV game.
Welcome to the world of TJ Root.
"I've been getting a lot of experience on varsity," Root said.
"It's tougher and more physical at that level. In JV, the players are often smaller and the game moves a lot slower."
The sophomore forward not only pulls regular double duty as a cager, but calls the gridiron home in the fall.
"I like both basketball and football pretty much equally," he said. "Both are a lot of fun and I enjoy the guys I play with no matter what team."
Like most Buckhorns, TJ views Honesdale as his arch-rival.
"It was nice to beat them twice this year," he said. "That's always good for us, but we respect them too. They are good players and it's all about the rivalry."
Roots notes Delaware Valley as another favorite foe and noted losing twice to DV wasn't something he was happy about.
At 6'4", Root spends most of his time in the 4-spot ready to snatch up a quick deuce.
"I have a pretty good mid-range hook shot," he said. "But, I still need some work around the low post."
Page 2 of 2 - Not surprisingly, TJ lists LeBron James, another forward, as one of his favorite NBA stars.
"I like the physical nature of his play." he said.
Root also cites his fellow teammates, especially the Buckhorn seniors, as people who inspire him.
"They're all willing to help me out and I've learned a lot from all of them over the past two years," he said.
Teammate and senior all star Jake Brown concurs
"TJ's a good kid with a a great work ethic," Brown said. "He's a hard worker and he'll definitely be a big part of the program in the future."
JV coach Jim McGinnis echoes Brown's sentiments.
"TJ's a hard worker and puts in a lot of time for both squads. I expect he'll be full-time varsity next season."
Check into any Buckhorn varsity game and should you see Root make a big play, a hearty chant of "He's-A-Soph-More" will usually erupt from the student section of the stands.
For reasons unknown to him, TJ is a fan favorite.
"I really have no idea why people cheer for me," Root admits. "I think it's just my friends having a good time."
While that may be true, many times those cheers follow hard fought baskets guarded by older, more experienced players from the opposing teams.
Something says the fans just like to rub it into the rival team.
Or, perhaps it's the fans' way of letting the other team know Root will be around for a few more years, So, they'd better get used to seeing him on the court.