Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | Home RSS

Knights’ ready to recreate winning tradition under new coach

November 26, 2018
CJ Eilers - Editor ( , Dysart Reporter

2018 record 5-17 (L to New Hampton in Regionals)

Head Coach: Dan Hensing

Union boys basketball is back for the 2018-19 season under the direction of new coach Dan Hensing, who hopes to take advantage of a deep, athletic roster to challenge the competitive NICL and bring a brand new winning tradition to the program.

Article Photos

Back row left to right: Coach Dylan Bergmeier, Marc Mahood, Jonathan Bronner, Carter Asmussen, Silver Schmitz, Richie Arteaga, Head Coach Dan Hensing. Middle row: Chad Bergmeier, Brayden Grosse, Trevor Davis, Jordan Carey, Britt Rolison, coach Kurt Alpers. Front row: CJ Weltzin, Keegan Block, Devin Reel, Henry Powers, Ryan Sedgewick, Caleb Reel, Bryce Parker.

Hensing previously coached as an assistant at Waterloo East and before that had been working with athletes in seventh to tenth grade at Cedar Falls. Now at Union, Hensing is ready to bring his experience and expertise to a program that has seen struggles in recent years.

"I found out about this coaching job through a friend and I've wanted to be a head coach of a varsity team," Hensing said. "I thought this would be a great opportunity with Union, which has a lot of school spirits and great athletes. I wanted to be a part of something like that."

According to Hensing, 16 players are currently dressed for varsity as he works to learn more about his athletes and their capabilities early on.

"These guys are showing a lot of hustle in practice and a willingness to listen to what the coaches have to say," Hensing said. "I had that in Cedar Falls in Waterloo East, but you can tell these want to get better right off the bat and that's awesome to see."

The 2018-19 squad will be lead mainly by seniors, with Silver Schmitz the top returning scorer from last year with 10.5 ppg and 5.0 rpg in the front court. After watching his team make progress towards the end of his junior season and was selected as an Honorable Mention in the NICL East division, Schmitz feels the team is ready for the next big step.

"We have lots of room to improve from last season," Schmitz said. "We didn't communicate and didn't play as a team, so this year we have to play as one and not individually."

Aware of his senior-heavy squad, Hensing has spent the opening week developing depth and pushing the ball to give his long, athletic seniors a chance an improved record and push Schmitz to be a better players.

"Silver Schmitz led the way for them last year and you can tell he's had a basketball in his hands a lot," Hensing said. "He's going to a good player in his senior year."

Hensing also believes seniors Carter Assmussen (5.4 ppg, 3.9 rpg) Bryce Parker and Britton Rolison (4.2 ppg) will be big pieces going forward this season, with juniors competing for varsity minutes.

"Britt is a unique athlete as far as he's got incredibly quick feet and aggressive on the court," Hensing said. "It's fun to have someone like him as a point guard. Carter also had some playing time last year and I like what he can do at the varsity level. He's long, can guard people and has some offensive skill as well. "I know this is a very senior oriented team and we've got some really talented juniors, so there's some tough decision with the starters. I want to give the first nod to seniors and juniors to compete with spot minutes and possibly start. It's high school sports, so we want to have fun and play hard. If we do this the right way, it will be an enjoyable experience for everyone."

Parker was named a team captain for this season's varsity squad after posting averages of 2.1 ppg and 2.7 rpg in '18-19. Though the previous season didn't turn out how the senior wished, he's optimistic for his classmates and new coach to turn things around right away.

"We could have done better than we did, but we grinded the season out and played together more at the end," Parker said. "This season, we have to play together and get a feel for anyone's skills. Personally, I want to close that gap I've had and be an All-Conference player by being a more dynamic shooter and being more explosive."

The Knights will play tight man-to-man defense this season to fit their athletic, aggressive style of play. Hensing believes he already has nine or ten players capable of varsity minutes and will look to push the ball on every possession to wear down opponents.

"I hope we can play basketball more together as opposed to being methodical with sets," Hensing said. "I just want them to be athletes, make plays, know when to cut as opposed being told when, and also get better shooting the ball. You tailor your offense to what you have for talent, and I know we're going to have to run offenses because we have different personnel out on the court. The seniors have some big guys, so we'll pound it inside more if we can."

Union has also emphasized ball movement and finishing down low in practice early on in practice. Each player has their own individual goals for the season and Schmitz is no exception.

"I want to make first team and I want to be more of leader to help get us more wins than last year," Schmitz said. "I worked on finishing down low over the summer and hope to help down in the post. Depending on the personnel on me, I might be playing more outside or down low. Our team's length is definitely a strength because he have so many tall guys. We have speed to help us a lot this season."

"I'm excited to play with all these guys again and making a run this season," Parker added. "Our speed getting up and down the court is a big strength of ours and we have good conditioning. We have so many guys ready to go already. The more guys we can play, the more we can be rested and have that energy throughout the season. We have a tough schedule again and we want to play the game how we know we can."

Hensing is no stranger to the NICL himself and looks forward to the challenge the conference can provide his veteran group.

"I've lived in the area for 20 years and know how good these teams here are traditionally," Hensing said. "Dike-New Hartford, Parkersburg, Wapsie Valley are all good and the NICL is a tough league top to bottom. I know every night is going to be a battle."

And likewise, his veteran group looks forward to the challenge, but also getting to work with their brand new coach.

"I'm really excited to work with coach Hensing," Schmitz said. "He's a really good guy and can lead us to do better than we have more. This is a new opportunity and we're ready to do some good things this year."

The Union Knights will open their season against the Jesup J-Hawks on Friday, Nov. 30.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web