New Talent Steps on Court

Sophomore point guard Jack Roou scored 10 points in the November 19 game at Wisconsin Dells. PHOTO BY DEVIN NEWBY

The Tiger basketball players are back in action after a 2-21 season last year. There has been particular pressure on the basketball team to push out some more wins ever since Jack Taylor, a 2009 graduate, made international news after scoring 138 points in a single game and, more recently, 109 points against Crossroads College last Sunday night. The team’s past record hasn’t proven that they’re a tough opponent to beat, but the team is more determined than ever to come back strong and prove people wrong.

Coach Mike Gaier is relying on five very important starting players to win as many games as possible: Sophomore Jack Roou as point guard, junior Matt LaFaunge as shooting guard, senior Brian “Junior” Gulbronson as small forward, senior Joel Kinder as power forward and senior Ryan Hansen as center. He is also relying on a group of very capable back ups. The real question is ‘Can they pull it together and get more wins this season than last season?’. The answer is yes. I not only believe that it is possible, but also highly likely with the new line up.

The team has some very interesting, new talent stepping out on the court. Gulbronson is playing his first varsity basketball game after dropping hockey, a game he’d been playing since he was 5. Some people have said that they’re not sure if Gulbronson is ready to take the court, but he proved he was up to the challenge at Wisconsin Dells.

Though falling to Wisconsin Dells 59-55, senior Gulbronson gained player of the game after a surprising display of skill throughout. Not only was Gulbronson strong on defense, he was even better on offense by scoring 16 points to lead the team in scoring. Though Roou has shined consistently on the court and has proven that he deserves his spot on varsity starting string, some people have said that now it’s Gulbronson time to be under the spotlight.

Roou did, however, come up with 10 points in the game following close behind Gulbronson. After facing adversity by being the only freshman on varsity last year, he can now focus on his game holding a comfortable spot in the varsity starting lineup.

LaFaunge stayed in the game to aid Roou and Gulbronson. He also displayed a burst of speed to come up with an impressive number of deflections and steals that led to some easy layups.

Everyone on varsity got some playing experience with juniors Eli Parker and Kenny Greengrass seeing the most of the court out of the five subs. Greengrass had some impressive blocks in the third and fourth quarters. Parker also showed that he was ready to play by putting some shots up on the rebounds. Junior Jeremy Ekern went in fourth quarter after Gulbronson went down with a minor injury after a layup attempt, but stayed in hopes of getting a steal. This was a smart choice by Tiger coach Gaier as Ekern hadn’t committed a foul up to that point in the game.

With the seniors graduating at the end of the year, the team will still have some strong players to fill the seniors’ spots with all of the developing players starting to move up. The season has already started out with a loss, however. As the saying goes, “It doesn’t matter if you win by an inch or a mile. Winning is winning.” We may have some very talented players, but the fact of the matter is, we don’t yet have any Jack Taylors, which was proven in the Nov. 19 game against Wisconsin Dells.

Seeing Roou, LaFaunge and some of the other juniors step up to the plate is refreshing and welcoming. It could also be seen as a sign that there are some substantial victories in the future.

The start of any season is usually rough and basketball is no exception. At this point, all we can do is sit back and wait for the season to unfold.