Feature Story

Hupmann gave Little Giants defensive identity


One of the many good old saying in sports, is ‘you can’t teach height’. Wabash Men’s Basketball certainly now believes in that saying after this past season. One of the key off-season moves for the Little Giants was getting 7’2 transfer in Noah Hupmann. Hupmann transferred to Wabash after a stint at Northern Kentucky. He was originally recruited by the Little Giants out of high school and found his way back this summer.

Many Wabash fans are used to the Jack Davidson and Tyler Watson era where the Little Giants were scoring 80-90 points per game on a nightly basis. The 2023-24 rendition of the Little Giants were much different. Largely due to Hupmann’s impact on the defensive side of the ball, Wabash’s defense gave up just 66.4 points per game which was the team’s lowest since the 2014-15 season (63.2). Nationally, Wabash finished 41st in the country in scoring defense with Hupmann finishing his first season in a Little Giant uniform with 74 blocks which tied him for sixth in the country.

Here’s some more numbers to put Hupmann’s first year with the Little Giants in perspective. Hupmann’s 74 blocks and 2.7 blocks per game are the most in a single-season in Wabash history. In 14 of Wabash’s 29 games, Hupmann blocked at least three shots, 10 times he blocked at least four, five times at least five, and twice he blocked at least six with his season of seven rejections coming on Feb. 20 against Kenyon.

It took some time for Hupmann to adjust to his role with the Little Giants, but when he did, he was the driving force behind their defense and a culture shift on to being a defensive-minded team.

“Coach Brum had been recruiting me for a long time,” Hupmann said of the decision to come to Wabash in the summer. “I really enjoyed getting to come back here and I felt it was the best fit for me. I’ve always loved being that defensive guy who is able to block shots and change plenty of other shots at the rim. While I was the rim protector, I have to give a lot of credit to our guards. They were the ones taking away the threes for the other team and forcing them to drive on me.”

The beginning of the season for both Hupmann and the entire Little Giants team was a learning experience as Wabash began to shift their style of play. It’s a style of play that head coach Kyle Brumett has been wanting for a few years with his team and now that it finally come to fruition, the wait was worth it.

“Ever since after Jack Davidson and Tyler Watson left, we wanted to shift our culture and mindset to be one that guarded at a really high level,” Brumett said. “We weren’t quite ready at the beginning of this year to embrace how we needed to guard. You combine that with Noah wasn’t ready yet to log heavy minutes because he was still finding his footing with us. When we did find our stride and started being the best version of ourselves, that’s when Noah did too and our best version of this team has his finger prints all over it.”

That stride that Brumett talked about was a 12-game winning streak that led to the Little Giants’ third straight North Coast Athletic Conference Championship and a third straight appearance in the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament. At two different four-game stretches this season, Hupmann had at least four blocks. He had games of four, five, six and five blocks, followed by a stretch of four, seven, four, and five. With his rising popularity on the court, Hupmann noted how his first season in a Little Giant uniform was certainly one he enjoyed.

“It’s been a great first year and a lot of fun,” he said. “It took awhile for me to figure some things out, but when I found our how everyone likes to play and getting comfortable with my role, that’s when things began to really click. It’s been great to be able to walk around campus too and have people tell me congrats on the game and say nice block and just small things like that have made it enjoyable.”

Hupmann will come back to the Little Giants for his senior year next season as the 7’2 big man looks to send a few more shots into the stands and electrify Chadwick Court with more dunks.