The Beavers are over half way through the conference schedule. We are currently 10-1 in conference play. Last Monday we ran across a very hot Wartburg team. Since I have been a part of this program, Buena Vista and Wartburg have had some battles on the basketball court. Unfortunately, we were unable to get things going offensively and had troubles stopping the Knights defensively. We suffered our first loss in the conference and it was really a gut-check time for our program. Like I expected, we took the loss from Wartburg and used it to focus on what we needed to do to be a great basketball team. We called a team meeting and set some goals that we thought would be important in winning our next four games. We focused on rebounding and how we really want to dominate teams on the glass. We also focused on limiting our empty possessions. By empty possessions, and I am talking about not just turning the ball over, but running our plays correctly and taking good shots as well. The final thing we talked about was basically finding our identity as a program. We wanted to point out things we do well and make sure we continue to do those things well. We came back two days after the loss and beat a Luther team that is much better than their record shows. We then continued our streak and beat Simpson on Saturday and COE College on Wednesday.
I am going to take this time to talk about our senior class a little bit. I will talk about Matt Cleveland and Andre Wagner today, and talk about the other seniors later. I am starting off with Matt Cleveland. I have lived with Matt the last two years and I feel like it has made our relationship stronger on the court. Matt is one of a kind. He stands at 6’8”, but can shoot the ball from the outside as good as anyone I have witnessed. Matt also has a great ability of rebounding the basketball. Matt has been named IIAC player of the week this year as well as tournament MVP in California. I feel fortunate that I have been able to play along side of him the last couple of years.
Andre Wagner is our starting point guard. Andre is an outstanding player as well as person. He is involved in many on-campus activities and he dedicates a lot of his time to helping others. He recently spent a month helping children in the area with disciplinary problems, which falls somewhere in his field. He plans to do something in the field of social work and there is no doubt that he will be great at it. He is just as good of a person on the court. When Andre came to Buena Vista he was a scorer. He came from a school where he was the offense. Now he is the leading scorer as well as assists man in the IIAC. He does whatever it takes to make the team better. His dedication to making himself a better player as well as his teammates is greatly appreciated. There is no doubt about that he makes me a better player.
We play at Central this weekend. Since I have been at Buena Vista I have never won a game there. They always seem to play their best against us and we expect nothing else. Next week we have two home games and I plan to keep you updated.