Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Freshman aim to boost basketball program

After falling short in the NCAA Division III National Championship Game, head men’s basketball coach Grey Giovanine has big plans for this year’s team.
The Vikings, composed of 8 seniors, 3 juniors, 5 sophomores, and 10 freshmen, are building for long term success.
Of the 26 players, 13 are either freshmen or transfer students.
“This is the biggest amount of incoming players we’ve had in my tenure,” Giovanine said. “Our staff felt like it was a critical year in recruiting, because we know we’re going to lose eight outstanding players after this year. There was some purpose in wanting a larger group; we definitely wanted to get a bigger group. I think the success we had last year made us more attractive to prospects.”
While the NCAA Division III Tournament second place may have attracted some players, it’s the core of what the Vikings program that is interested incoming freshman Nolan Ebel.
“For me, it was the mentality here,” Ebel said. “Coming from a top 15 basketball program in the country for high school, I wanted to go play for a team that plays at a high level.”
Ebel also credited Giovanine and the atmosphere the Vikings have.
“Coach G did a great job at making me feel wanted,” Ebel said. “I wanted to go to a school that loves basketball and the Carver Crazies give the basketball team a ton of that.”
Beyond basketball, another reason Ebel came here was for the education.
“The education at Augustana is very important to me,” Ebel said.  “It was different than my other looks because the other schools said I would come play basketball for them, while Augie sold the educational piece along with the athletic piece. And that part means a lot to me and my family.”
This season’s schedule is one of the toughest the Vikings will face, given their first game will be against University of Wisconsin-Lacrosse.
“The home opener will be a great event, as the home opener of a team that will very likely be ranked number one in the nation,” Giovanine said.
“We will also play at home against the defending national champions that beat us in the title game in University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point and that is just our fourth game of the year.”
The team is hoping to have a great amount of student attendance for these games.
“Our students have really embraced and become a huge part of the Carver Center atmosphere; we only have three non-conference home games, but I know our students are going to be a factor in those games,” Giovanine said.

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Freshman aim to boost basketball program