Athlete of the week: Alex Herink
Alex Herink, a senior basketball player from Hudson, averaged 20 points and 5 rebounds per game last week as the Falcons knocked off WIAC foe UW-Whitewater on Saturday night at Page Arena. The reigning WIAC player of the year is averaging 16 points per game on 48 percent shooting to help lead the team to a 15-7 record so far this year.
The Student Voice sat down with Herink to discuss the team’s setbacks in WIAC play and their potential for a NCAA tournament run.
Q: What has the competition level been like in the WIAC this season?
A: I think like usual, the competition is pretty high. There’s a lot of teams that are really good, and each night they’re out there fighting. It’s not very predictable and teams are getting it here and there.
Q: Has it been more difficult in your second season, with teams being able to game plan for you?
A: I think it’s a little bit tougher this year because they know who I am this year, while last year was a surprise to them. I’m still trying to do my best and help the team in the best ways that I can.
Q: What was UW-Stout able to do in order to come back on you last Wednesday?
A: They stuck around in the first half and we were only up by two or three. They hit a lot of shots and we slowly started missing more and more. They hit a lot of good-timed shots and they were able to pull ahead there near the end.
Q: What did you take away from that game?
A: If you get a team down, try to keep a team down and not really giving them any chances to come back. Keeping your foot on the pedal and making sure you’re in control of the game instead of letting them run over you.
Q: How difficult was it to watch the whole first half from the bench against UW-Whitewater with foul trouble?
A: It’s never easy to just sit there and watch. I made stupid mistakes and it was really frustrating. They were out there performing and were doing really well. It kind of gave me a little more energy to come out in the second half with a blast.
Q: What was the mentality coming out of halftime?
A: For me it was to basically bring the energy. Both teams had played a first half and I had to sit the whole first half. I knew I could harness that energy and take it to the court. When they would be dragging, I still had a bunch of energy to keep going.
Q: How were you able to avoid foul trouble in the second half?
A: It’s one of those things where you’re just trying to be cautious with it and play your game. At the same time, you still got to be wary to not mess up or get another foul and make little mistakes like that. The hardest part is still being aggressive and playing your game.
Q: What was the team able to do defensively to force the Warhawks into tough shots?
A: We did more ball pressure on the outside to make them drive or take a contested shot. They hit a lot of shots, but we still stuck to our game plan and made them take ones they weren’t wanting to take.
Q: Have you expanded any aspects of your offensive game this season?
A: I’ve taken quite a bit of threes. There are teams that are doubling me more than last year, so if I’m outside I’m driving or taking a pull-up jumper instead of just a three. Having a mid-range game is something that I’ve incorporated slightly that I didn’t have last year.
Q: What role do you think the team’s depth will play in the postseason?
A: I think it will benefit us … having a bunch of people who can play, especially as the games coming are more aggressive and intense. To have fresh legs and people that can keep up with the speed of the game and participate and give their tidbits of what they do best is very beneficial to us.
Q: How does Coach Berkhof’s method of playing people for short stints benefit you?
A: Overall, you go out there and play harder in shorter spurts. You may only play 2-3 minutes at a time, but at the same time you’re giving it your all instead of not hustling or playing defense as well if you were to play the entire half.
Q: What needs to turn around in the WIAC tournament to earn an NCAA berth?
A: We need to focus on the little things. Whether it’s a defensive stance or making an extra pass on offense, I think the little things is what’s hurting us right now.
Q: What is your fondest memory of your time as a Falcon?
A: It would probably be last year after cutting the down the nets after winning the WIAC championship. That was a great team to play for and a great moment to be a part of.