Athlete of the Week: Alex Herink
Alex Herink, a junior forward from Hudson, Wisconsin, helped lead the No. 4 ranked Falcons men’s basketball team to a regular season WIAC championship with two wins over UW-Stout and UW-Whitewater this past week.
In the 92-51 Falcon win over UW-Stout, Herink scored 17 points and shot 6-11 from the floor while going 4-4 from the free throw line. In the win over UW-Whitewater, he battled with foul trouble all night, but still scored 13 points and was 4-9 from the floor. He continued his all-around play by hauling in six rebounds and dishing out four assists to help improve the Falcons to 21-2 on the season.
Herink sits near the top of the WIAC in a variety of categories, including points (fourth, 16 per game), field goal percentage (fourth, 56 percent), free throw percentage (third, 86 percent) and blocks (second, 0.96 per game).
The Student Voice sat down with Herink to discuss his role with the Falcons and the impact of a conference title for the team moving forward.
Q: What kind of style of play does this team rely on?
A: Coach really works inside-out, so we start by trying to get the ball in the post. Once we start doing that, teams start closing in and we can get shots outside. Our team’s pretty good at doing both so it’s hard for teams to know exactly where we’re going to be scoring.
Q: What is your role on this team and what’s expected of you?
A: I’m expected to play solid defensively and handle my man. Contributing offensively is also a little bit of my role, but it’s not the main thing to score. To be effective and efficient when they need me to be and shutting down the post [with Garret Pearson] is what we should be doing.
Q: Even though it’s your first season with the team, have you assumed a leadership role?
A: Maybe a little bit, because of being a junior and having the experience. The most important thing is to be effective while you’re out there.
Q: What part of your game has the biggest impact on the team?
A: My size playing inside helps. Being able to shoot right-handed and left-handed helps in the post because the defenders don’t know which way you’re going. Shooting outside the arc is something else that has been worked into my game and that helps in having big guys stretching the floor compared to being stuck in the post or just a shooter.
Q: Did the loss to Oshkosh on Feb. 4 inspire this team to keep growing down the stretch?
A: Obviously losing like that hurts, and it kind of snapped us all back into reality. We lost that one, but we have to keep a streak going, so we came back the next game fired up and ready to go. It kind of lit a fire underneath us.
Q: How hard was it against Whitewater to play aggressive but still have four fouls?
A: Once you get four fouls, it’s harder because you can’t do the things you normally would. It’s really hard in a game like that, when it’s close and you know what you’re playing for. It wasn’t too much time sitting out but obviously you don’t want to be sitting out in a game like that.
Q: How did you respond to missing your first few free throws against Whitewater after usually shooting 90 percent?
A: It was one of those nights where you miss the first one and that’s okay, but once you miss two or three you kind of start to think about it. Coming down to the last two it was more about not thinking about it and just doing it and staying out of my own head.
Q: What about Whitewater gave the team trouble? How important was it to get that win on your home court before playoffs?
A: Overall they’re a very large team size-wise, but we [also] have some size. Our guards could get posted up, and it wasn’t a great fit for the size of our guards. But to win that game was huge and to have it be senior night and alumni night was great.
Q: What did it mean to the team to be able to cut down the nets in Karges for the team’s final regular season game in the gym?
A: Being that we won it at home and closed out the conference, it’s probably the best experience we could have asked for our seniors to go out on that note at Karges.
Q: What kind of home-court advantage will you have in the WIAC playoffs by playing in Karges?
A: It will be good because we will have the hometown crowd and won’t have to worry about traveling and being on the road. You’re feeling good and shooting [at Karges] all the time, and you have a student section that you don’t have on the road.
Q: What can this team still accomplish this season?
A: I think the roof’s the limit with this team. It’s what we put our minds to and I think we’re all ready for the next level. We had a nice accomplishment the other night, but we’re not satisfied with that. Hopefully we can keep going and end up playing for the national championship.