Stuckman building on basketball legacy at QU

By Shane Hulsey

Being the hometown kid can put a lot of pressure on a college athlete.

But Tanner Stuckman has used that pressure as motivation.

“I know a lot of people doubted me coming out of high school, even in high school,” he said. “My motto has just been, ‘Show people that I can play at this level.'”

And Stuckman has shown he can play at this level.

The Quincy Notre Dame graduate is averaging 19.4 points per game through 20 games, which is up from just 8.2 points per game in 2018-19. That mark of 19.4 points per game is good for fourth in the GLVC. Stuckman is also averaging a team-high 6.3 rebounds per game.

Stuckman has also shot the ball well from beyond the arc, making 35 of his 76 3-point attempts, which equates to 46 percent. Those 76 attempts are 29 more than he attempted in 25 games last season.

Stuckman said he hasn’t been given the greenest of green lights, but his teammates and coaches trust that he can knock down the big shot.

I’ve really been hitting shots the whole year,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I’ve had the full green light. Guys just trust me with the ball, things like that.”

When that shot is flowing and seemingly everything is going in, it’s easy to want to just keep shooting, but Stuckman said he has to be smart about when to pull the trigger.

“It’s an awesome feeling (when my shot is working),” he said. “When you’re hitting some big-time shots, sometimes you want to shoot a little more. Sometimes I just have to be smart about that and dial it back a little bit, but it’s a great feeling.”

Stuckman’s steady scoring and improvement on the defensive end have made life much easier for head coach Ryan Hellenthal.

“Not only is he shooting the ball well from the perimeter, but he’s also scoring down on the block,” Hellenthal said. “I think when you talk about physicality and toughness for Tanner, I think the most important improvement has been defensively, just being able to guard down in the low post and also guard and keep a guy out of the paint on the perimeter. Those things take toughness and physicality, and he’s really grown in that area.”

Stuckman is also carrying on a family tradition of athletics at QU. Tanner’s brother, Ryan, played for the Hawks from 2011 to 2013 after playing at John Wood Community College in Quincy.

Tanner and Ryan aren’t the only members of the Stuckman family tree to have laced it up for QU.

“My cousin played here as well, and my dad played volleyball for QU,” he said. “Pretty much my entire family played some type of sport at QU. It’s really cool to carry on that tradition and play well in front of my hometown, especially my family.”

Tanner Stuckman has been passed the torch, and he is running with it.

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