David Kimmel has never been the best player on the basketball court. He doesn't score a lot of points. He doesn't rack up tons of assists.
The Great Neck South point guard is the first to say as much. "I'm never the star," Kimmel said with a wide smile Friday night after the Rebels beat host Jericho, 62-37, in a Nassau Conference A-I game. "I set people up and pass. But tonight, I don't know . . . ''
What Kimmel was trying to say is that something changed. Maybe, he said, it was because the game featured two unbeaten teams. Maybe it was because the game was played at night, he said. Then he offered this possible reason: "Maybe it was because I just wanted to finally do my part the best way I can."
Kimmel had 10 points (a career high for the junior and first-year starter), seven assists, five rebounds and four steals.
According to GNS leading scorer Ben Lee, who had 20 points -- all in the first half -- Kimmel is the team's most important player.
"That's the best I've ever seen David play," Lee said. "He controlled the game like he never has before and just dominated on both sides of the ball. When David is playing well, it opens up the game for everyone else -- especially me."
The more Kimmel drove to the basket, the more defenders tried to stop him. Kimmel routinely broke down Jericho's defense and the result often was a wide-open Lee, who shot 4-for-6 on three-pointers, including a buzzer-beater at the end of the second quarter that gave GNS (4-0) a 45-20 lead.
Maxx Rosenbloom led the Jayhawks (3-1) with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Both coaches predicted before the game that it would be decided in the final minutes. Instead, it was decided in the first minutes.
"We basically had everything going in that first half and ran away with it," said GNS forward Shane Smith, who had 12 points and seven rebounds.
With Smith and Jon Kestenbaum providing a solid presence in the paint and Lee, who averages 19 points, and Kelvin Hom scoring from the outside, the Rebels expect to contend.
Add in Kimmel playing the way he did Friday night at point guard, and Lee expects his team to go a long way.
"Last year he didn't get a lot of minutes, so he's come a long way," Lee said. "He's only a junior, but everyone is comfortable with him running the show. When he plays like he did tonight, there's no stopping us."