Seniors provide leadership

Brent Clouser

Brent Clouser

The men’s basketball team faced one of its toughest seasons ever this year. The team’s successes were partly due to the leadership of the seniors.

Luke Geiver, Jared DeJong and Brady Hokenson were the only seniors on this year’s men’s basketball team. They have been a part of the team for the last four years and have seen considerable game time since their sophomore years. The trio’s friendship stands out on and off the court and helped keep the team together with strong teamwork. They are also roommates and have enjoyed many of their experiences at SDSU.

“It was tough playing so many different teams and so many different places and to get ready for game after game,” Geiver, an English major from Sioux Falls, said.

The team traveled a lot, from New York to California to Florida.

“Having a really young team, having lost a lot of older guys and playing a much tougher schedule made this season very challenging,” DeJong said.

They also faced some challenges over the course of their college basketball careers. They agreed that one of the biggest challenges was competing for playing time in such a good program with so many great players. It also became a challenge to juggle schoolwork and basketball.

“As much as we traveled, this year especially, it was a little tough,” DeJong, a business economics major from Orange City, Iowa, said.

They were gone for a week in Florida playing three games in the National Independent Tournament and one game against Central Florida. Their hard work on the court carried over to off the court, enabling them to keep up with homework.

“We always had friends that let us borrow notes,” Hokenson said. “And the professors have always been very helpful in keeping us up with classwork.”

Most of their career highlights came this year, when they had to step up and take the leadership role for the team. For the first time in their careers, they ended the season with a victory by defeating rival North Dakota State University in Fargo.

“It was great to finally end the season with a win, especially against NDSU, who has sort of become our new rival, the crowd was really into it and it was a really exciting game,” Geiver said.

Another highlight came earlier in the season when the Jacks collected their first D-I win against Tennessee State in Memphis.

“The team was really excited when we got that win, it was really one of the highlights of the season,” DeJong said.

Although at times they grew travel weary, they thought it was a great experience to see so many new places.

“I really enjoyed getting to travel, you can’t complain about spending a week in Florida in February when you live in South Dakota,” Hokenson said.

All three seniors plan to graduate in April and will go their separate ways.

“I’ll really miss the games and my teammates,” Hokenson, a mechanical engineering major from Watertown, Minn., said.

“I’ll miss all the competition and the relationships that you develop throughout the season,” Geiver said.

“I’ll really miss hanging out with the guys and the friendships that have developed,” DeJong said.

#1.885234:2858479745.jpg:bb seniors, miike.jpg:Luke Geiver, Jared DeJong and Brady Hokenson spend time together on and off the basketball court.: