UJ athletes Janssen, Pratt, Schmidt coach up ND Attack AAU teams
The three all take extensive playing experience into their roles as coaches.
JAMESTOWN — Despite the summer having arrived, basketball season has not stopped and that is the case for the North Dakota Attack Amateur Athletic Union teams and two current Jamestown Jimmies and one former Jimmie.
The 17 and under boys team is coached by former Jimmies forward Logan Pratt and program director Greg Foster. The 16 and under boys team is coached by junior Jimmie golfer Carter Janssen alongside two others. The only one of the three who is a veteran of the Attack is sophomore Jimmies guard Madelyn Schmidt who is coaching the 14 and under and girls blue team alongside Mayville State sophomore guard Mackenzie Hughes. This is Janssen’s second summer with the Attack, Pratt’s third and Schmidt’s first.
The North Dakota Attack is an organization of 20 AAU summer basketball teams, for players ranging from 11 years old and under for boys and 12 and under for girls to 17 and under for boys and girls. The program's bio on its website emphasizes the mission of making good people on and off the floor.
All three teams have gotten their season underway with Pratt’s squad and Janssen’s team starting their seasons on April 2. Schmidt’s team opened up on June 11.
The Jimmies have been well represented on the teams and on the sidelines as Pratt said the current Jimmies men’s basketball assistant coach Tyler Peterson helped him get the job. Schmidt said the girls director of the program, Jill Vote, asked her and Hughes if they wanted to coach together after playing for the Attack together. Janssen got hired after reaching out to Foster.
As the only one of the three who is currently a hooper, Schmidt said she is learning to understand the game from a new perspective.
“It’s giving me a really good chance to learn more about basketball, being a student of the game,” Schmidt said. “It’s so important whether you’re high school or especially a college basketball player, me coaching it’s just gonna help me become a better player on the floor.”
As a graduate of the University of Jamestown, Pratt is currently an assistant coach at Lake Region State College, so this summer is a precursor to the beginning of his coaching career.
“I’ve enjoyed it enough that I want to do it after school,” Pratt said. “I’ve enjoyed working with the kids, seeing them develop. I’ve coached the same group of kids all three summers, so I’ve enjoyed watching them get older and become better basketball players.”
During the 2021-22 Jimmies men’s basketball season, Janssen continued his love for the game by helping out with the junior varsity team alongside then-graduate assistant coach Tanner Slag. Despite not playing basketball collegiately, Janssen said he wants to either be a basketball coach or an athletic director after graduation. Janssen noted the parallels between the problem-solving aspects of both golf and basketball and the competitive nature needed for both.
“I think if you look at golf, another thing is trying to figure out ways to get things done,” Janssen said. “In golf there are a lot of different shots you could hit or different ways to get around the course and so on just like basketball when they throw a different defense at you or they’re pressing or whatever it may be, you have to figure out ways to be successful, be competitive.”
One of the challenges that Schmidt said she is learning how to deal with as a first-time coach is the strategy of substitutions, plays and dealing with individuals and how each person likes to be taught. Schmidt said her and Hughes being younger has helped them relate to their players and be more approachable for questions.
“I’ve played in a lot of games and me being able to relate to them really well and them having someone who is not a ton older than them,” Schmidt said. “It’s easier for them to come up to us with questions or things they are not sure about. We are learning, they’re learning and they’re having fun. We are also bonding and really enjoying our time together and playing basketball while we’re doing it.”
All three of the Jimmies athletes have different coaching mentors who have shaped their style, with Schmidt highlighting her high school coach at Kidder County, Dan Welder. Pratt said the coaches he looks up to are Jimmies head coach Danny Neville and Peterson.
“I try to be more soft spoken with them as they're still learning," Pratt said. "I'd say my style has stayed consistent over the years."