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MSHSL officially cancels spring sports season

Shortly after Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz announced that the schools would remain closed for the rest of the school year, the Minnesota State High School League announced news of their own. Following in line with Gov. Walz, the MSHSL announced that spring sports would officially be canceled effective immediately.

“In response to Executive Order 20-41 issued today by Minnesota Gov. Tim Walz, the Minnesota State High School League, under the direction of the League’s Board of Directors, has declared, effective immediately, all activities and athletics that occur during the spring season have been canceled for the 2019-2020 school year,” the MSHSL issued in a statement. “The decision of the League is aligned with recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Minnesota Department of Health and is in support of practices that focus on community health and safety.”

The cancellation applies to all forms of student participation in any League activity, athletics, and fine arts. The section and state tournaments for each of the League’s spring activities are also canceled. This cancellation applies to Adapted Bowling, Adapted Softball, Badminton, Baseball, Clay Target, Golf, Lacrosse, Music, Robotics, Softball, Speech, Synchronized Swimming, Tennis, Track and Field and Visual Arts. League activities and athletics for the spring season have been suspended since March 15.

Stay connected with the Herald Journal for a full story.

Wishart heading to UC Santa Barbara

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

“At the end of the day, you are on the beach. That is a cherry on top, but that was not at the top of why I made my decision.”

That decision Calvin Wishart speaks of was about where he would finish his college basketball career. The beach he was referring to sits on the coast of California on the campus at UC Santa Barbara.

“It’s gorgeous there, but that was near the bottom of my list of reasons,” Wishart reiterated.

Wishart literally had a list of reasons, in the form of a spreadsheet created by his dad, Phil. At the top of the list in most categories was UC Santa Barbara, a mid-major basketball school that annually resides near the top of the Big West Conference standings.

“UCSB blew the other schools away, and, to be honest, it just felt right,” said Wishart, who will be a junior next season.

That feeling is what Wishart and his family were looking for in their recruitment of schools and basketball programs.

“It clicked,” he said. “My parents said, ‘If it feels right and it clicks, do it.’”

Wishart is headed to the west coach after spending his freshman and sophomore seasons at Georgia Southern in Statesboro, GA. “The ‘Boro to the beach” is how Wishart’s father, Phil, describes the move.

Wishart wanted to make his decision soon, and he did just that, choosing to become a Gaucho at UC Santa Barbara just a week after he announced he put his name in the transfer portal. Finding a landing spot quickly avoided any uncertainty, he said.

“The portal is just as competitive as coming out of high school. You have to go for it,” said Wishart.

Wishart spoke for this story from his home in Buffalo just two days after returning home from Georgia Southern, where he is finishing up three more weeks of classes through distance learning.

In a normal year, Wishart would report to college and the basketball team for the first session in early June, and then for the second session in late July or early August. The uncertainty surrounding COVID-19 leaves any dates for social gathering up in the air.

Whenever he arrives in Santa Barbara and becomes a Gaucho, Wishart will join a program that has won 21 games the past three seasons under coach Joe Pasternack, including the current season, which was cut short. They finished with a 21-10 record.

The Gauchos were two wins into the Big West Conference tournament, and preparing to play UC Riverside in the quarterfinals March 12 when the season was shut down.

UC Santa Barbara has played in the NCAA Tournament nine times, going 3-6. The Gauchos’ last appearance was in 2011. They lost to Florida in the first round.

Twenty-three Gauchos made their way to the NBA. Brian Shaw (’88) is the most notable alumni.

Knowledge and experience in the NBA is something the coaches and staff at UC Santa Barbara have.

Assistant coach Larry Lewis was an assistant coach with the Sacramento Kings and Los Angeles Lakers after a long professional playing career internationally. And Director of Sports Performance Luke Storey used to be the head strength and conditioning coach for the Orlando Magic.

“There are pro athletes and pro staff at UCSB I will be working with for a year, just to get better,” said Wishart, who expects to red shirt his first season. ”I will be working with one of the best trainers in the country for a whole year. He will be working with me, getting my body stronger.”

Wishart has spoken remotely with the coaches, and received a virtual tour of the campus. He was impressed.

“That Zoom call gave us a good feeling about UCSB,” Wishart said.
The coaches promoted the school and what it offers as much as what basketball will give Wishart.
“I will be getting my degree from one of the best colleges in the country,” he said. “They weren’t just talking about what I can get in three years of basketball, they were talking about what the school can do for me for 50 years.”
Pasternack was an assistant at Arizona for six seasons before taking the head coaching position at UC Santa Barbara. He cut his teeth in college basketball as a four-year manager under Bobby Knight at Indiana.
“Coach Pasternak face-timed me just like he would another player,” Wishart said. “I feel comfortable with him.”
As for red-shirting his first season at Santa Barbara, Wishart is fine with that, as the Gauchos’ top returning guards — JaQuori McLaughlin and Devearl Ramsey — will both be seniors. By the time Wishart is out of his red-shirt situation, those spots will be open for the taking.
“I will have a chance at a big role,” Wishart said.

Delano B2 Squirts win D3 Championship

The Delano Squirt B2 team defeated Wayzata/Navy in an overtime thriller March 7 to take the District 3 championship.

Team members include are  (front row from left) Danny Franklin, Briar Bekkala, Johnny McCabe, Beau Haukos, Charlie Reiffenberger, Lincoln Truax, Austin Kazin and Drake Hawkins; second row: Keegan Erdman, Brody Roers, Mason Mattson and Tyler Malo; and coaches Brian Roers, Marc Hawkins (head coach), Bryan Franklin, Ben Mattson and Troy Malo.  Not pictured are  Austin Oeffling and coach Kary Oeffling.

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Monke an assistant coach of the year

Matt Kane
Sports Editor
DELANO — The Delano basketball team was supposed to end its season at the Class 3A state tournament for the fourth time in the school’s history and the third time under current coach Terry Techam and his coaching staff. That of course did not happen, as the COVID-19 pandemic abruptly ended the winter sports season and is continually taking a bigger bite out of the spring season.
Delano was one of the last teams to play a game before the Minnesota State High School League shuttered the remainder of the season. The Tigers defeated Fridley March 12 at St. Michael-Albertville High School to claim the Section 5-3A championship and the state berth that goes with it. A day later, with several sections yet to have been decided, the league announced that the season was over immediately.
The Tigers finished with a 25-4 record.
The season record and the state tournament will forever fall under the impressive list of accomplishments for coach Techam, but he and all head coaches know that a successful season comes from the working hands of the assistant coaches as much as it does the head coach.
For his work this year, Techam’s assistant Jason Monke was noticed and honored by the Minnesota Basketball Coaches Association with his inclusion on the list of the 2019-20 Assistant Coaches of the Year.
Monke is one of 10 coaches from all classes on the list.
“This was very unexpected, but I am very honored to be one of the coaches awarded with Assistant Coach of the Year,” he said. “It means a lot to me because I am so proud to be a part of our boys basketball program here in Delano.”
Delano assistant coach Jason Monke waits out the final seconds of Delano's section win over Fridley with seniors Keagen Smith and Jack Balsiger March 12 at St. Michael-Albertville High School. Monke was named to the list of Assistant Coaches of the Year for his work with the Tigers. (Photo by Matt Kane)

Delano assistant coach Jason Monke waits out the final seconds of Delano’s section win over Fridley with seniors Keagen Smith and Jack Balsiger March 12 at St. Michael-Albertville High School. Monke was named to the list of Assistant Coaches of the Year for his work with the Tigers.
(Photo by Matt Kane)

Monke just completed his 10th season as an assistant at Delano, and his 25th season of coaching overall.
“Coach Techam and coach (Jamie) Longstreet are absolutely phenomenal to work with, and the student athletes we are fortunate enough to work with here are second to none,” said Monke.
Monke paid his dues, coaching at all levels. He has coached grades 7-12 for both boys and girls in his 25 years. Monke has coached in New England and North Dakota (Kulm and Washburn). Before arriving at Delano, he coached in Minnesota at Royalton and Sauk Centre.
Also, Techam was named the Section 5-3A coach of the year, and Delano was the section academic team champion.
2019-20 ASSISTANT COACHES OF THE YEAR
Mark Haddorf — Lakeville North
Christopher Johnson — Minneapolis North
Darin Johnson — Minnewaska
Jason Monke — Delano
Dillon Naumann — Princeton
Matt Norton — St. Francis
Chandler Sentell — Minnehaha Academy
Steven Sjostrand — Kittson Central
Lee VanNyhuis — Osakis
Tony Yazbeck — Cretin-Derham Hall
2019-20 COACHES OF THE YEAR
Class AAAA: David Flom — Eden Prairie
Class AAA: Omar McMillan — Richfield
Class AA: Brad King — Caledonia
Class A: Wade Grinde — Spring Grove

Wishart enters transfer portal

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

The COVID-19 pandemic may have abruptly cut off the finish to his sophomore season at Georgia Southern, but former Delano standout Calvin Wishart has stayed deeply focused on the game of basketball. His quarantine in Statesboro, GA has not been filled with video games and Netflix. Instead, game films from teams across the country have stolen the screen on his flatscreen television.

Wishart-CWishart is busy studying potential suitors for his services as a Division 1 junior guard next season after he officially put his name in the transfer portal Monday, announcing so on his Twitter account.
“I’ve been talking nonstop yesterday and today to, like, 20 schools,” Wishart said over the phone Tuesday afternoon. “I’ve been watching film on schools. It’s literally been nonstop — hang up and you missed a call.”
Wishart made his decision following the departure of head coach Mark Byington, who recruited Wishart out of Delano. Byington accepted the coaching job at James Madison. His assistants are also leaving Georgia Southern.
“I came here for a lot of reasons. One of the main reasons was the coaching staff and how much trust they had in me coming out of high school. Now, that is gone,” Wishart explained. ”You go to a school for a reason and that reason was taken away.”
Byington’s departure was not only hard on Wishart.
Just two days after Wishart announced his decision, his former teammate Quan Jackson became the second Eagle to enter the transfer portal following the departure of Byington.
The transfer portal allows players, like Wishart, to keep their options open to find a better spot, just as coaches do. It’s like recruiting and being recruited all over again.
“With the new coach, with whom I have no relationships with, instead of one option with him, I can still come back to the school or pursue other options” Wishart explained.
In recruiting college players out of the transfer portal, coaches have a better idea about what they are getting.
“It’s more intense. It is a lot more in a shorter period of time,” Wishart explained. “Now that you’ve played college basketball, they can see your college film. It’s not as big of a gamble to some of these coaches.”
As mentioned, Georgia Southern is still in the mix. Although Wishart has not spoken with him in person (only on the phone), new coach Brian Burg is recruiting Wishart. Others Wishart named from his list are Minnesota, South Dakota, South Dakota State, North Dakota, Northern Illinois, Texas Tech, Santa Clara and George Washington.
Wishart knows what he wants.
“I want to play a lot of minutes. If I would stay at Georgia Southern, I would play 30-plus minutes,” he said. “I want to play a lot of minutes on a good team that can win a conference and go to the tournament.”
Wishart mentioned the constant support he has received from his friends back in Delano during his two years at Georgia Southern. That, too, is important in his decision, which he hopes to make in the next several weeks.

“I want to go to a spot that I can put on the map,” he said. “I want to go to a spot where Delano and Minnesota people can follow me. Since the state tournament run, it’s been nothing but love from home. I want to put a spot on the map, again.”

Wishart certainly helped put Delano on the map when it comes to high school basketball in the state of Minnesota.

Delano basketball fans remember Wishart for his four unprecedented seasons with the Tigers after he transferred from Buffalo following his 8th-grade school year. That tenure, of course, ended with Wishart being the program’s all-time leading scorer and the Tigers raising the Class 3A State Championship trophy at Target Center after a Cinderella run as the No. 6 seed for the tournament.
Wishart, Jackson and Georgia Southern were preparing to play in the Sun Belt Conference Tournament semifinals against top-seed Little Rock when the NCAA ended the remainder of the season due to the Coronavirus.
In what may have been his final game in an Eagles uniform, Wishart scored 10 points and  four rebounds March 11 in a 81-62 win over Georgia State in the Sun Belt quarterfinals.
Wishart started 23 games this season, and averaged 9.4 points and 27.7 minutes per game. His top scoring game of the season was 21 points Nov. 8 in Georgia Southern’s 109-55 win over Reinhardt.
Wishart started 16 games for the Eagles his freshman season, and appeared in 30 games. He averaged 5.2 points.

BOYS BASKETBALL: Tigers get back to state; find out a day later there is no state

Matt Kane
Sports Editor

DELANO — One day after finding out they would be headed back to state, the Delano Tiger basketball players found out there will be no state tournament to play in.

The Tigers defeated Fridley 80-51 Thursday night in the Section 5-3A championships game to qualify for what would have been the school’s four trip to the state tournament. Friday morning, it was declared by the Minnesota State High School League that all state tournaments, including the girls basketball tournament, which was underway, were cancelled immediately due to the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

The high school league planned on announcing intentions for upcoming events and spring activities later Friday.

At the top of the home page of the Minnesota State High School League, it reads:

Effectively Immediately Friday, March 13, 2020 10:45 a.m.

The Minnesota State High School League is immediately cancelling the Girls Basketball State Tournament.

Additionally, all Boys Section and State Basketball Tournaments have been cancelled.

Section Speech Tournament events for the week of March 15-21 have been postponed indefinitely.

Additional details and information on other upcoming events including Spring Activities will be shared later today.