We might need a new term to describe the Wabash basketball careers of the four seniors on this team.
They are enjoying the fruits of four (or in one case five) years of hard work and dedication to the Little Giants program.
They are the lead characters of a team that has won the first NCAC championship in school history and with a win tonight, will host the first NCAC semis and finals in program history.
They are riding a 17-game win streak, the second-longest in school history.
They are eying the first NCAC tournament championship and possibly the first NCAA D3 tournament appearance since 1998.
Oh, yes, three of them have scored more than 1,000 points throughout their careers.
And when they come back for Alumni gatherings, they will be able to talk about missing a season due to a pandemic.
Tyler Watson, Kellen Schreiber, Jack Hegwood and Jack Davidson are the leaders of this team that is 21-3 and won the conference title with a 16-1 record.
Davidson, Watson and Schreiber are the three leading scorers and the engine that drives the Wabash machine.
Hegwood holds the rest of them accountable, and keeps them focused, even though he sleeps on the couch at their shared apartment.
“It’s the relationships,” Hegwood said of the strength of this team. “We are a tight-knit group, friends on and off the court. From last off-season, I saw this team start to build on what we had. I knew we had the pieces, and that we could do something special.’
Full disclosure, Hegwood sleeps on the couch by choice, but doing that puts him literally in the middle of everything that goes on every minute, because the Seymour House apartment is a regular meeting place for the entire team.
It is the building of this special team that has been the goal of the coaches and the seniors.
“It starts with bringing the right guys to Wabash,” Head Coach Kyle Brumett said. “Coach (Patrick) Sullivan and I have tried to do that, and put together a vision of what they can do together, as a team. These seniors have envisioned it, and that has become something special. It’s also what makes Wabash so special – they look for the best in you, and these guys look for the best in each other and their teammates, and then bring it out.”
Watson, who set the single-game assists record earlier this season and has 1,247 career points, noted that very point in his decision-making process to attend Wabash.
“Coach Brum and Coach Sully sold me on the vision of how we were going to win championships,” the Tri-West grad said. “They had a plan. Most of the other coaches who I talked to didn’t have a plan like they did.”
What no one planned for, though, was Covid, a pandemic and the impact it had.
The postseason of their sophomore season was canceled, and last year was limited by conference, college and Covid. A team with high hopes played 12 games.
Davidson sat last season out, but came back to make this his senior campaign, and he has delivered, as he has his entire Wabash career.
The NCAC Freshman of the Year, he followed that with a Player of the Year award his second season, and is a leading candidate for that award again this year. He has also been named to the Bevo Francis Award watch list for the top small college player nationally. Both he and Watson have been named to the Academic All-District First Team. It is the third time for Davidson and second for Watson.
Davidson became the leading scorer in Wabash history earlier this season, and sits at 2,230 points.
“I watched these guys improve so much last season when I was gone,” he noted. “I could see a really special group, I didn’t want to miss that.”
Schreiber, who was a high school classmate with Hegwood, emphasized the togetherness of the seniors that leads to the togetherness of the team.
“We worked so hard our first couple years,” he said, “and it has continued all the way through. “We do everything together, we go out together, we work out together, we watch film together. We are right by each other’s side. This has been such a special year. We swept DePauw for the first time in our years here, and we swept Wooster and Wittenberg for the first time in school history. It was something that had not been done and gave us a minute to celebrate. We just want to win all of them. We can never be satisfied. I know I’m just grateful for these guys, for the opportunities. Covid cut the tournament and last year – we can’t get that back, so we just have to be grateful for those we get.”
Schreiber is another current member of the 1K club, with 1,102 points.
“You don’t often have three thousand-point scorers on a team,” Brumett said. “The accolades Jack (Davidson) is receiving are many and deserving. He is one of the best in the nation. Other guys are playing at such a high level. Watson has become one of the top assist guys. Schreiber is one of the best low post players in the country. Hegwood is the glue that keeps them all together. We have the talent that makes them a great team. They have been great teammates.”
These four are not only great friends and teammates as seniors, they have brought the rest of the team under their wings.
The best example of that is Ahmoni Jones, who was named to the All-Tournament team at the Great Lakes Invitational at the start of the season.
“My transition to Wabash was hard,” the junior from Indianapolis said. “These guys broke down the barriers. They brought me out, brought me along. They have been role models for me, and they push me, they inspire me. They have shown us that we are in this together. I’ll be forever grateful.”
“These guys will be in my wedding.”
Four seniors, one adopted along the way, who have bounced over speed bumps never thought possible, who have persevered, adapted (even saying Covid was a bit of a blessing because it brought the team closer together) and succeeded.
“I hope these seniors will be remembered for and appreciated for all their tremendous contributions and the work they have put in,” Brumett said. “They truly are brothers. Basketball and four years of college are supposed to be the best years of your life, a chance to make and become the best of friends. Groups like this don’t come along very often.”
These four seniors, these four friends, have made their mark on Wabash basketball. Chances are very good they will be remembered for a long time.
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