Junior forward Austin Holt goes up and cashes in a putback attempt in Hamline’s blowout victory over Martin Luther College 78–47.
Junior forward Austin Holt goes up and cashes in a putback attempt in Hamline’s blowout victory over Martin Luther College 78–47.
Justin Antwi

Men’s basketball slam-dunking into success

This story was previously published in print on Nov. 21, 2023.

As they dribble their way into the spotlight, the Hamline Men’s Basketball team is preparing for an exciting season ahead under the seasoned leadership of Jim Hayes, who has etched his legacy as the head Men’s Basketball coach, now entering his eleventh season during the 2023-24 academic year.

His impressive coaching record includes leading the Pipers to new heights, with notable achievements like their 2022-23 season, where they secured a 15–12 overall record and advanced to the MIAC Tournament Semifinal. 

Under his guidance, the Pipers have seen six seasons with double-digit wins, showcasing a commitment to excellence both on and off the court.

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Off the court, the team upholds high expectations, demonstrating an impressive equilibrium of excellence in both academic and athletic domains. This commitment to high standards extends beyond the hardwood, leading to an exceptional track record of academic success. 

The Men’s Basketball team has achieved a remarkable 15 consecutive semesters of maintaining high GPAs, a testament to their dedication to excellence in all aspects of their collegiate journey.

During the offseason, the returning players dedicated themselves to strength training in the weight room throughout the summer, complementing their regimen with extra open gym sessions to maintain a high level of competitiveness.

As Hayes says, “A year stronger is a year better,” underscoring the team’s commitment to continuous improvement, setting the stage for an even more formidable presence on the court.

As the school year unfolds, the full program embraces early morning strength and conditioning sessions at 6:45 a.m. under the guidance of strength and conditioning coach, Chris Hartman. 

The devotion to physical training not only speaks to the team’s dedication to improving their fitness levels but also underscores the importance of starting each day with discipline. 

These structured sessions are instrumental in fostering team unity and resilience, inspiring values that extend beyond the basketball court.

Beyond the basketball arena, the team shares a strong sense of camaraderie, forming a close-knit group. “We are just a big family who love to compete at a high level,” Ethan Wall-Atim said

Wall-Atim, the first-year forward additionally expressed the collective hope for an exceptional season for everyone, emphasizing the bond that extends beyond the game itself. This sentiment reinforces the team’s unity and cooperative spirit, creating an environment where players not only strive for success on the court but also foster meaningful connections and support off the court.

However, potential challenges loom, revolving around navigating adversity effectively. Hayes stresses the vital role of efficiently handling challenges, emphasizing its impact on the season’s outcome.

To address this, the team employs a strategic framework termed PTP, an abbreviation for “power to person.” Regular meetings with Hayes and the team facilitate open discussions and collaborative problem-solving, not only addressing adversity head-on but also fostering a culture of communication, support and shared responsibility among the team members. “We are a tight-knit group and there is no real animosity between us,” Wall-Atim said.

As the team navigates the season, they are armed not only with strategic plays but with a unity formed through shared challenges and triumphs. 

With a strong sense of camaraderie and a proactive approach to adversity, the Pipers stand ready for an exceptional year, striving not only for victories on the court but for success in every facet of their collegiate journey.

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