Coyote basketball’s sophomore forward, Tyler Hagedorn, is back in business after an early season ankle injury and improving more than ever, his coaches have said.
Hagedorn suffered an ankle injury at the beginning of the season, and has worked his way back up to consistently playing regular minutes each game.
Hagedorn said he rolled his ankle two days before the team’s first regular season game against Drake. A week later he was cleared to practice, but he later slipped on the ice and injured it more.
It took more than a month for Hagedorn to recover, he said.
Head coach Craig Smith said Hagedorn’s injury was a bad one.
“Sometimes it’s a moderate one, just a mild sprain and this was a high ankle sprain,” Smith said.
While Hagedorn sat on the sidelines, his coaches and teammates continued to encourage him.
“We met a couple different times and we just kept telling him, ‘Tyler you gotta keep fighting, keep getting better. You’re clearly not yourself yet’,” Smith said. “…Give that kid a lot of credit, he’s hung in there and hung in there. You just never know when your number is going to be called and when his number was truly called, when he had some extended minutes was the IUPUI game, and he’s played fantastic ever since.”
Hagedorn’s passion for basketball is one reason he was able to ‘hang in there’ through his injury.
His drive is rooted in his family’s passion for the game, he said. Both of Hagedorn’s parents played college ball: his mom at Mount Marty College and his dad at Northeast Community College and Dana College. His sister, Breanna, played for Doane University and his brother, Matthew, plays for Norfolk High School.
“(I’ve been playing) as long as I can remember,” Hagedorn said. “It’s just from day one playing basketball, so I’m really excited I’m playing at
The next man up
Hagedorn had over a month-long recovery for his left ankle injury.
“I wasn’t completely focused in on the season… but I started practicing better, which is probably the big key. I wasn’t practicing that great because my mind wasn’t there… so for me to get back on the court it was really tough,” he said. “But obviously with Tyler Flack getting injured and with my ankle starting to feel better and the hardship fell through. I really started to thrive in practice which carried over to the games.”
Smith agreed that practicing well transitioned into playing well in games.
“You can really help yourself by practicing well,” Smith said. “Because when you practice well, obviously you get the attention of your teammates. It’s not just the coaches, it’s your teammates as well, and when Tyler Flack went down his opportunity came.”
Hagedorn said he believes the team’s ‘next man up’ mentality really helps them succeed.
“We have some history of injuries, so it’s not our first and in the end it’s truly the next man up philosophy,” he said. “We’ve got 15 guys on the roster, two of them can’t play, so 13 guys, and then you know, one guy goes down and the next guy has to step up. So it’s truly that next man up philosophy.”
Sophomore forward Dan Jech said Hagedorn’s teammates could see how hard he was working
“When he was in practice he worked every day like he had never been injured in the first place and that’s what you want to see,” said Jech.
Smith said he hasn’t seen a team this close in
“It doesn’t always happen like that. (With) these guys, we do have a lot of depth in our program,” he said. “I think this team is a tight team. They have great chemistry. They really get along well with each other off the floor and with the depth that we have – it’s kind of our mantra now, ‘the next man up,’ and the guys believe in each other.”
Hagedorn’s goal for the rest of the season is to keep improving for the team.
“These last eight games I am just going to focus on making every play I can to give our team our best chance to win the conference title at the end of the year,” he said.
Smith says Hagedorn is ‘just scratching the surface’ of where he can go.
“We have high expectations for Tyler. A big step for Tyler is just showing that consistency and showing that he can be productive and dependable every practice, every game. Where we know exactly what we’re going to get out of him every night,” Smith said. “He’s the total package, he’s a very talented player but he’s very respectful, he’s very intelligent, off the floor, on the floor. We’re sure excited to have in our program.”