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North grad chasing basketball dream

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Columbus North graduate Sawyer Glick has been OK with the fact that his major, at least for the time being, is basketball.

Instead of heading right to college after graduating from high school in May, Glick chose to attend Quakerdale Prep Academy in New Providence, Iowa.

It labels itself as a post secondary basketball program, and its emphasis is 24-7 basketball.

Well, that might be somewhat of an exaggeration.

“We’ve done two (academic) classes,” said Glick, who plays shooting guard for the Eagles. “We take one class every six weeks. There is a whole lot more basketball than classes.”

The Eagles are 14-13, and many more basketball games are on the way. Head coach Dwayne Melton won’t be judged by his win-loss record but instead by how many of his players receive scholarship money.

“We get a lot of exposure,” said Glick, who was The Republic’s 2012-2013 Athlete of the Year in basketball. “Before the season, we had college coaches coming in on a daily basis.”

College scouts continue to follow the players along a schedule that would wear out the Harlem Globetrotters.

“We have gone to JUCO (National Junior College Athletic Association) tournaments, and we have played against nationally ranked junior colleges,” Glick said. “We go on 10-hour bus rides and eight-hour bus rides.”

Glick said that, despite the grind, he is enjoying his crash course in basketball.

“We had a good preseason conditioning program,” Glick said. “It prepared us for all these games and for this kind of traveling. We often will play three games in three days.”

Glick, who is 6-foot-4, has started about half the Eagles’ games as Melton rotates his lineup. All his players have the same dream, to receive a solid scholarship offer, so the lineup isn’t necessarily based on what might be best for the team.

“It’s a whole lot different than at Columbus North, where everything was team first,” Glick said. “I’m not saying that at a prep school we don’t want to win, but we know that everyone is here for a reason.”

Glick said it has hurt the team as a whole at times. “We have had possessions where we have decided to do it individually when we should have passed it off,” he said. “We have struggled with that.

“But I do have really good teammates.”

At North, Glick grew up playing with many of his teammates. The Quakerdale roster has been thrown together and will be together only one season. The team’s 12-man roster includes players from six states.

“To be honest, it was tough at first,” Glick said of having any kind of team chemistry. “But it helped us a lot that we live together, eat together, go to class together. I think we built up a pretty good chemistry early on. But when we play a junior college that’s been together for two years, you can tell that they know each other.”

One thing is certain: Glick is surrounded by lots of talent.

“We have guys being looked at by Memphis and Creighton,” Glick said. “We just had a point guard (Thomas Wilder) commit to Western Michigan.”

Glick said his decision to attend Quakerdale is paying dividends.

“My game has improved,” he said. “My shot has gotten quicker, and I wasn’t the strongest rebounder before. We’ve done a lot of weightlifting and conditioning. We’ve done a lot of foot speed stuff. I’ve improved my midrange game. There were a lot of things I needed to improve on.”

The pool of universities that are interested in him is beginning to expand. Quakerdale’s website doesn’t have  statistics listed, but it does have each player listed and the programs that are interested in them. Among those interested in Glick is Division I University Missouri-Kansas City of the Western Athletic Conference.

“Our coach (Melton) calls programs on daily basis,” Glick said.

If Glick gets to the Division I level, he will know what it is like to play against quality big men. He said Quakerdale gets exposed to a lot of quality post players.

“If you go into the lane, your shot ends up in the third row,” he said.

Glick, who said he has no concrete scholarship offers yet, said he would recommend prep school basketball to any athlete who comes out of high school in a similar situation to his when he left North.

“It’s another year of exposure and great competition,” he said. “You’re going to improve.”

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