Hawks basketball set to tip off November 27

By Jay Hammel

It has been a tricky offseason for the Quincy University men’s and women’s basketball teams not knowing when it will be safe for GLVC basketball to be played again.

“Are we preparing for a November start or January start?” QU men’s basketball head coach, Ryan Hellenthal said.

The Great Lakes Valley Conference announced October 8 that there will be basketball competition played in the 2020-21 season starting November 27.

With now having a set date, the preparation before their first game will be unlike any other year.

“Now, it’s easier said than done getting to that point because the preparation for our season depends on our COVID testing and how we handle that,” Hellenthal said. “We have to be absolutely perfect in our COVID preparation to ensure we can make it to the season.”

QU women’s head coach, Jeni Garber, knew the start date could probably be adjusted but as time went on, the November 27 start date became more clear.

“It is very exciting and motivating to have a definitive time frame with the understanding that it is a very fluid situation and could change,” Garber said.

The GLVC basketball schedule consists of 11 home games and 11 away games for each school and the conference has split league members up into three five-team divisions.

The conference will still opt to use the point ratings system that was established a few years back to determine who advances to the post season.

“I think having a conference-only schedule is what we have to do to protect everyone involved,” Garber said. “It makes it all more even because all-conference teams are following the same rules.”

In addition to the schedule announcement, both sports were authorized to begin practice on October 15, leaving them with a little over a month to get ready.

“I think it’s obviously getting your scheme/game plan implemented on both ends but also being in game shape – physical conditioning-wise,” Hellenthal said.

However, Hellenthal believes the conditioning piece goes hand in hand with the COVID piece.

“If we can continue to be COVID free – and do the things off the court to be successful fighting the pandemic I think it certainly helps,” Hellenthal said. “What we can’t have is several start-stops to our season – that is where you become concerned about the conditioning piece and preventing injuries.”

In addition to the 2020-21 season’s constraints, the QU men’s basketball squad will be a whole different look.

Hellenthal returns only four from his 2020 roster and has brought in 14 new players to the program.

He believes the team chemistry has been good with a lot of the new players who are eager to learn and are excited to have the opportunity to be at this level.

“I think we’ve got high character kids who have an appreciation for the opportunity they have and are excited to represent our university,” Hellenthal said.

Hellenthal will rely on his three seniors Tanner Stuckman, Charles Callier, and Victor Kovacevic, who he says have great veteran leadership.

“Those guys have been here and understand the daily steps you have to take to be a successful student-athlete here at QU,” Hellenthal said.

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