By Curran Daly
Freshman basketball player Kellen Gerig had yet to start a college game. In his first start of the season he played for 17 minutes. In high school, Gerig scored 26.1 points per game and lead his team to a 24-3 record. So far for the Lumberjacks, Gerig has scored 1.1 points per game and averaged 6.9 minutes per game.
“The hardest part is the change of competition and not playing as much,” Gerig said. “All of us were the stars of our high school and then we all get together and only five can be on the court. So it’s kinda tough to sit on the bench sometimes.”
Gerig did not play much for the Lumberjack in the early parts of the season, but he felt a strong bond with his teammates and the fans.
“Everyone’s really close together and we’re like a family,” Gerig said. “All of our fans get pretty into it, we know everyone on campus and in the gym.”
Teams spend a lot of time together while playing, practicing, and studying. Ali Deeb is a freshman redshirt, who plays for the men’s soccer team. Deeb can often be found with his friends and fellow teammates, but that doesn’t stop him from missing home.
“The hardest part was missing my family and missing my city,” Deeb said. “I think that’s just the hardest adjustment, but eventually you get used to it.”
Deeb is from Garden Grove, Calif. Growing up he loved nature, that was one of the factors that lead to him deciding to come to Humboldt.
“I always really liked nature and soccer,” Deeb said. “I really wanted to play on the soccer team here because the coach showed a lot of faith in me.”
The opportunity to play also led freshman AJ Mintz to Humboldt State. Mintz just finished his redshirt season for Lumberjack football team. He came to Humboldt State for the opportunity to learn about football but has learned more off the field.
“I’ve probably learned more just in life,” Mintz said. “like a lot of life lessons in general, in the first six months of being here.”
Mintz says these life lessons stem from living alone for the first time. He had an easy time adjusting to his dorm and got along with his roommate, but had to get used to 6 a.m. practices.
“All through the season when our team was playing, the redshirts were lifting at 6 a.m. before practice. I would say that was the hardest, and not playing on Saturday,” Mintz said.
In the future all three hope to feature predominantly for their teams. Right now they are more focused on practicing and growing as individuals. Even if that means practicing without playing.