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The Southwestern men's basketball team finally got a chance to play someone other than themselves in practice Sunday when they played three scrimmage games at the JUCO Jamboree in Cedar Falls. The Spartans have been in pre-season workouts since the beginning of September, and official practice since October 1, so Head Coach Mike Holmes likes for his team to get an early exhibition to break the routine. Holmes said, "Even though it is much too early for us to have our offensive reads and defensive decisions perfected, the jamboree is an opportunity for players to see where they are in relation to other teams, and rewards them for a physically demanding pre-season."
There will be many fresh faces in Southwestern’s basketball program in the upcoming season. Ten freshmen join sophomores Keenan Joiner (Maryville, MO, pictured) and Andrew Pool (Orient, IA) to complete the squad. While the incoming freshmen represent a good portion of the state of Iowa, there is also a national and international flair with players from Colorado, Minnesota, and Croatia. See the link for a complete list of players for 2011-12.
Following the departure of Assistant Coach Andy Peterson, Head Coach Mike Holmes was not sure if he would be replaced, or if all of the assistant coaching duties for the men's basketball program would fall to Assistant Coach Thad Tussey. Holmes then got a phone call from the University of Nebraska- Omaha's coaching staff. Tim Sandquist, a graduate assistant last year at UNO, will serve as an assistant for Southwestern for the upcoming season.
Holmes said, "We have a special set of teaching principles here, so we can't just bring in anyone and expect them to contribute. Coaches I trust at Nebraska- Omaha spoke very highly of Tim, and after speaking with him, I knew he would be a tremendous asset to what we are trying to accomplish."
Sandquist has been in the UNO program since 2006. Prior to his time at Nebraska- Omaha, he was an assistant coach at Omaha Christian Academy. Sandquist recently completed his master of arts at UNO, and received his bachelor of arts there as well.
When Head Coach Mike Holmes spent time the previous summer coaching college graduates in a European exposure league, he never bargained he would get an assistant coach out of the deal. Holmes coached Andy Peterson, a graduate of Northwest Missouri State University, in the league and quickly formed a bond with him.
Holmes said, "Andy is the type of guy you take to right away. I was impressed with his tactical knowledge and work ethic, but mostly I could just tell he would relate to players in a substantial way, so I started the recruiting process to get him on staff."
Peterson joined the Spartan family last season, and brought a great deal to the table with his understanding of the style of play and teaching points in the program. After a successful season helping to guide Southwestern to 14 wins, Peterson accepted an offer to join the staff at Northwest Missouri State.
"A few things played out in the decision," said Holmes. "Andy got engaged over the year and he can now be closer to his fiancee, but also the fact that he can return to his alma mater makes it a great move for him. We will miss him a great deal, but I am happy for him."
Peterson said, "I couldn't have asked for a better place to start my coaching career. Coach Holmes with basketball and Coach Krejci as an A.D. were tremendous in letting me grow and mature as a professional and as a coach. Holmes has a different philosophy than I have ever been around, so I was constantly learning new ideas and ways to get things done...and that's priceless for me as a coach. Everyone at Southwestern was just a treat to work with and I honestly don't have one negative thing to say about my year with the Spartans."