By | Gabe Rivera
Great players of Humboldt State men’s basketball past came back to play in the annual alumni game against your current Jacks team on Oct. 28. at Lumberjack Arena.
The now visiting HSU alums put together a talented squad of players to give the Jacks all they could handle, including 14-year international player Austin Nichols. Nichols led the Jacks to the D-2 Final Four in 2004.
“I like the direction of the program,” Nichols said. “They look really sharp and play well as a team. It’s still early, so they had some chemistry issues but they just gotta stay the course and buy into what [coach] is saying.”
The Jacks players were able to come out and play at a high level against some stiff competition and showed why they will be a force this season by winning the game 93-82. Coach Steve Kinder was pleasantly surprised by his team’s success.
“It was a great experience for us to play against great competition and play well,” Coach Kinder said. “You’re playing against guys like Austin Nichols and Kevin Johnson…guys that are still playing overseas professional ball.”
The players should be confident heading into games next weekend as the regular season is all set to begin. Without much of a preseason, the alumni game is a good way to see where the team needs improvement.
Jacks redshirt senior guard, Will Taylor is a leader on the court and the alumni game is a sign of the start of the regular season games.
“We don’t have a ton of preseason games and next week we’re going to play D-II teams,” Taylor said. “This is our last chance to tune up against an opponent other than ourselves, so we take it very seriously.”
The season kicks off on Nov. 3 in Anaheim but the Jacks first home game is Nov. 13 against the Pacific Union Pioneers.
Jacks redshirt junior guard, Tyras Rattler is ready for the real games to begin but loves playing against the alumni. Rattler scored 22 points and added five boards in the game.
“I like meeting the people that played before me, I learn from them and they give me good advice,” said Rattler. “Our goal is to go to the national championship and get a trophy. That’s our goal and we’re gonna try to get that.”