Tommie Basketball=Teamwork

While listening to the radio, a frantic housewife called her elderly husband’s cell phone. She knew his regular route. When he answered from his car, the wife, with fear in her voice, told him that one person was driving the wrong way down Interstate 94. “Oh, Herman, be careful.” He responded, “One! There are hundreds of them.”

Sometimes you have trouble determining who is out of step and who isn’t. At this point in our St. Thomas community, there is a sports team that stands out for doing things the right way: the men’s varsity basketball team.

As everyone knows, basketball at its best is a team sport, not a showcase of individual talent. The St. Thomas basketball program produced a real TEAM this year. In the list of top 20 scorers in the MIAC, only one Tommie appeared. He was seventh. In the rebound category, no St. Thomas player appeared in the top 20. With those facts, how did we go 30-1 for a season? Because we played as a team.

Coach Steve Fritz regularly played 12 players, and often all 15, each game. He said things were easier for the team because of the support of students, parents, alums and friends. There were 400 Tommie supporters at Wheaton, Ill., for our NCAA Sweet Sixteen games.

Fritz is a winner. As a matter of fact, he has 541 wins since assuming the head basketball coach position at St. Thomas. He is a winner in life, too. As an alum of St. Thomas, he displays all that is expected of a graduate.

Steve shares thoughts and quotes from many sources with his players. Shortly after their final game this year, he sent his players a quote from Claire Carver–Dias, a Canadian swimmer: “I think a lot of our team commitment is a silent understanding that each one of us has poured our life into what we are doing.”

What a coach. What players. What a team.