It’s been a while since I have written a column.
A long while.
Six weeks, to be exact. It’s nice to get away from the Concrete Jungle for a bit.
However, the Norse men’s team did not really get the break the rest of us enjoyed. But they have been playing rather impressively of late, heading into mid-January with a 9-2 overall record and a 2-1 record in the Great Lakes Valley Conference.
The Norse came within an inch of upending sixth-ranked Drury on Jan. 5.
A controversial charging call on guard Billy Finnell nullified the tying basket which would have sent the game into overtime.
The biggest surprise, however, might be Dennis Gagai. Gagai has played in nine of the eleven games, but has yet to start.
Dave Bezold’s best weapon off the bench may be the sharpshooter Gagai, who transferred from West Virginia last year as a walk-on.
Gagai came to Northern Kentucky University with a reputation as a high scorer, and he has lived up to his billing.
Although he hasn’t started a game this season, he is shooting 61 percent from the floor and a blistering 56 percent from beyond the arc-his 61 percent shooting is only good enough for second on the team, however, as center Travis Rasso leads the GLVC in shooting at an absurd 70 percent.
In fact, the Norse are shooting over 50 percent as a team, which might be why they have compiled a 10-2 record.
Gagai’s presence also adds another name to head coach Dave Bezold’s growing list of high caliber transfer players.
And a bonus with Gagai is that he has not lost any eligibility since transferring to NKU, and will likely play out his remaining three years in Highland Heights.
Balanced Scoring Integral Part of Norse Success
With a 74-59 win against Indianapolis last Thursday, NKU demonstrated why they have been such a success in the early stage of 2008. Four players scored in double digits, led by Vincent Humphrey with 15.
On the season, four players on NKU are averaging double figures in scoring. Harrison, Teague, Gagai and Williams.
Ten players are averaging double figures in minutes per game, allowing Bezold flexibility to go to his bench at any time.
The team relies on its quickness, due to a lack of size compared to other teams in the conference.
The bottom line is that the season is early and the Norse have played only three conference games.
NKU isn’t ranked in the most recent NCAA Division II. In fact, they didn’t receive a single vote.
Maybe it’s best that no one wants to give the Norse a look right now. They may just find out in March.