Editor’s Note: The following article was written in late November – early December. It offers an early perspective on what has been hailed as a very good season for the men’s basketball team.
by Tiffany Stubbs
“It is so crazy being a senior already,” said basketball player Thomas Shephard. “We have a lot of potential to be successful this season because we have a lot of talent, which allows us to give 100 percent on both ends of the court. As a senior, I want to do my best to be a part of that. I’ve had the blessing to participate in the national tournament each of the last three years and would love to win a game in the NCAA tournament and make a postseason run.”
Shephard is one of four seniors on the team this year. There was only one senior who graduated the previous year, so the team remained very similar to the last season. The seniors on the team this year are Blake Van Maanen, Daniel Petkau, Matt Watnemo and Thomas Shephard. After going to the NCAA tournament the past three years in a row, they are ready to make another appearance for their senior season.
Captain Michael Carney said, “Having a lot of experience back definitely helps with unity. Most of us have played together for at least a year or two, so we all know each other pretty well. For practice, we were able to start a little farther ahead than we did last year since we were used to playing together.”
The team began the season with a tough loss to Hamline University Nov. 15. This was a game they knew would be difficult but were hoping to win, so the outcome was a little shocking to fans.
Coach Tim Grosz said, “We knew it would be a tough game because Hamline beat us at their place last year…Our focus this year is to be a great rebounding and defensive team. I think if we can do that we can have a really good year, but we are not there yet. On the offensive side I think we will shoot well, but we need to take care of the basketball.”
“Every year we talk about three things: worship, witness, and how we compete,” Coach Grosz said. “I don’t put a number on success. I just want us to maximize what we have and see where it takes us. I always tell the guys not to limit themselves to just winning.”