Connected coach: Wieck’s ties helpful in JC basketball tripJustin Wieck’s coaching connections are proving quite handy on the Jimmies’ holiday break trip. The Jamestown College men’s basketball coach has gotten both the Jimmie men’s and women’s team a chance to practice on a well-known D-I floor and later this week will get them into an NBA game for free.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
Justin Wieck’s coaching connections are proving quite handy on the Jimmies’ holiday break trip.
The Jamestown College men’s basketball coach has gotten both the Jimmie men’s and women’s team a chance to practice on a well-known D-I floor and later this week will get them into an NBA game for free.
Both Wieck and Greg Ulland are quick to point out the trip is for basketball first, but with about 10 days to kill, having fun was also part of the plan.
“You can’t lock them in their rooms and have them go over the scouting report for 24 hours,” Wieck said. “Both of our teams, the men and women, they work hard. We want this trip to be fun and we want them to enjoy it. That’s important too.”
Both teams play at Northern New Mexico College tonight in Espanola, N.M. Both coaches are looking for better results on the second half of the trip.
The JC men (7-9) went 0-2 against Arizona Christian, although there is no shame in losing to the 10-1 Firestorm. The 11th-ranked Jimmie women (13-2) split their two games last week in Las Vegas. Although, Ulland had his typically measured and humorous take after the loss.
“We’re not ready to tie the noose yet,” he joked. “But the girls do realize we need to play better.”
After beginning their trip in separate states, the teams met up earlier this week and go to practice Monday night at the University of New Mexico’s well-known gym, commonly referred to as “The Pit.”
Wieck played for current New Mexico head coach Steve Alford, when Alford was in charge at the University of Iowa. Alford currently has the Albuquerque, N.M., Lobos 13-2 and ranked 20th in the country.
The Jimmies practiced at The Pit Monday then the men’s team watched the Lobos practice.
“It’s a great facility. I think our kids really enjoyed the opportunity to get out on the court. It’s a 15,000-seat arena. They have amazing facilities. It was a great experience for our players to have that opportunity,” Wieck said. “Coach Alford was great in helping us out and setting things up. It was one of the experiences our guys will remember for a long time.”
After tonight’s games, the Jimmies will drive to Denver, Colo., where they’ll play Saturday against Johnson & Wales University, whose men’s team actually beat 15th-ranked Valley City earlier in the season.
After Saturday’s games, the Jimmies will wrap up the trip by watching the Denver Nuggets host the Utah Jazz thanks to complimentary tickets from Nuggets assistant coach Ryan Bowen, who basketball junkies will remember as a former standout for the Iowa Hawkeyes and a steady 10-year NBA career that ended in 2010.
“We didn’t play together (at Iowa), but we got to know each other through the years. He’s a really good guy,” Wieck said.
The Jimmies will fly back to Jamestown on Sunday after being on the road for more than a week, but also a trip they had to work for.
“We fundraised a lot,” Ulland said. “It’s not like we got a big pile of cash stashed away for this kind of thing. It was a lot of fundraising by our team.”
The men’s team did the same, Wieck said. And while getting a break from the winter weather was nice, he said it’d be a lot more enjoyable trip if they can close out the adventure with a couple of victories.
“We want to finish the trip out right,” Wieck said. “It’s been fun being together like this as a team, but we’re pretty focused on basketball right now. We want to come back with a couple of wins.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at email@example.com