Maybe you need to ask yourself what the real value of playing is for you. Right now, it sounds as if the only measure, in your mind, of what it means to you is how much time you spend on the court during games. If that’s to remain the measure, you might as well quit; there’s never any guarantee that there won’t be five, or even six or seven or ten, guys on the team next year who’re better suited to being on the court during games, or who better fit into the plans the coaches have. Nothing you do can ensure that won’t be the case. But if you can find other ways of measuring the value of remaining on the team and continuing to put forth the effort you do, perhaps you’ll conclude that you are getting back as much as or more than you’re putting in. I can’t tell you what that might be for you; I have my ideas, but they’re more to do with what I value and appreciate about myself and others than with you.
I can say that the sports coaches and managers I most admire and (more to the point in my case) the business leaders I respect share one characteristic: they focus on what the people they have under them can do and structure their teams and plans in ways that make the most effective use of that, rather than dwelling on what the people they have to work with can’t do. Casey Stengel and Whitey Herzog were probably the textbook cases of this in baseball (sorry, my basketball knowledge is very limited). If they had a player on their roster, you can bet they could tell you exactly what that player was good at and why and under what circumstances they expected to use them; you can also be sure that they knew how they wouldn’t use them. They put players of limited skills, or who were lacking in one dimension or the other, into situations where what they could do was important. It’s the same thing as a manager in business; I have a group of people working for me of varying skills, intelligence, experience, and temperaments. I don’t (and neither do most managers) have the luxury of having only superstar performers who have uniformly broad and deep skills and experiences. I try to fill out the team with the most intelligent, experienced, capable people I can find, but some are better than others. All of them, however, are able to contribute to the success of overall effort, albeit in different ways. Much of the art of managing is learning what your people are good at, what they’re not, and focusing on how to make the best use of the talents and qualities they exhibit.
I know that having a serious, frank, heart-to-heart talk with a high school coach can be a tricky proposition, and you know the personalities you’re dealing with far better than I, but you might try talking to the coach and finding out what he considers your strengths and weaknesses to be and how that factors into his plans to use you. At worst, it might be misunderstood as carping about your limited playing time. But at best, it might lead you to a better understanding of the value you provide to the team as a whole and make it possible for you to measure yourself against a more accurate yardstick than mere time spent on the court; understanding the value others place on your contributions might give you a better sense of why you do belong and make your final year a much more enjoyable and rewarding experience, even if your court time doesn’t change.