WAUPUN – Despite the loss of a multitude of important players from last year’s sectional final squad, the Central Wisconsin Christian boys basketball team appears poised for another deep run in the playoffs — if the first month and a half of the 2014-15 season is any indication.
The Crusaders are 8-1 so far, including a 7-1 mark in the Trailways North Conference. In the latest Associated Press boys basketball poll, CWC was ranked third in Division 5.
Much of the Crusaders’ early success can be attributed to the play of senior forward Tyler De Young, who’s averaging a team-high 16.2 points and 8.5 rebounds per game. De Young is no stranger to the spotlight, as he led the team in scoring both as a sophomore and junior.
The Reporter caught up with De Young before Monday’s practice to talk about his success so far and what he and the Crusaders hope to accomplish the rest of the year.
The Reporter: You’re leading the team in scoring and rebounding a month into the season. What’s been important to your success so far?
Tyler De Young: Probably having my buddy Cody Zonnefeld and our freshman Owen Theune is definitely key to some of the success our team’s had, but also for personal stats as well. Not being double teamed as much and having other people that can do some of the scoring and that helps me.
TR: You led the team in scoring the past two years. How has your experience in this role helped you this season?
TD: Points have got to get up on the board and Coach (Dan Ten Napel) never told me not to shoot. Someone’s got to score them and I want to be the one. Coach tells me to be aggressive, so I am. … Being in this role, I’m pretty used to it.
TR: At 6-foot-4, you’re a relatively tall guy. What would you describe as being the strength of your game?
TD: Ever since I was a kid, I’ve always been in the post. Recently I’ve moved to the wing a bit more and looking forward to college, I’ll probably play a wing. My height helps me get shots off and to rebound. But also to play the game I’ve played since I was a little kid, which would be to post up with the basketball.
TR: What were your goals individually coming into this season?
TD: I wanted to average 10 rebounds a game, which I was just short of last year. I also wanted to shoot 90 percent from the free throw line, which hasn’t gone so well so far so I’ll have to get in the gym and shoot some more free throws. I wanted to average 17 to 20 points a game. My dad averaged 20, which he’ll tell you immediately. I don’t think 20 is in range, but I think 17 is a good number for me I think.
TR: What goals does this team have for the season?
TD: The one goal you always have is to win a state championship. We have short-term goals and we have long-term goals. One of our short-term goals is a conference championship and then regional, sectional and then state (titles).
TR: You guys play Randolph on Tuesday in a big Trailways North Conference game. What will be the key to taking the Rockets down?
TD: We’ve got to take away Duke Vander Galien. That’s the main goal. But also play good team defense. That’s always a goal for our team, so that will be big.
TR: Do you play any other sports?
TD: I play basketball almost year-round.
TR: What would be your dream sporting event to attend?
TD: NBA Finals (Bucks vs. Spurs)