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Posted On: 06/28/18 12:04 PM
Dell Rapids St. Mary’s guard Connor Libis may only be a freshman but his experience is well past his years.
Usually, your freshman year is your first opportunity to be on the varsity team, but that isn’t the case for Libis.
“Last year was a good learning time for me,” Libis said. “This actually was my third full season of varsity basketball and it was my favorite by far. The first two seasons were learning how the game was played at a faster pace, but as a freshman, I was able to learn how to control and take over a game.”
Libis was also the MVP of the Entringer Classic this past season and credits his coach Pete Schmidt for putting himself and his teammates in the right place at the right time.
“Coach Schmidt has drawn up so many great plays and always puts us in the right spot to succeed,” Libis said. “Also the addition of coach Colby Fitzgerald was important because he has taught me how to control the tempo of the game and has added key inputs during crucial moments during games.”
The Cardinals have been in a little bit of a rebuild mode these last couple of seasons, but Libis feels the rebuild years are finally behind them.
“Last season was by far our best,” Libis said. “We were .500 for the first time in 10 years and did that starting three freshmen. We were able to beat teams we hadn’t beaten in a while. We also placed third in our 10 team conference behind two very good schools.”
READ: Who’s About to Blow Up Next Season?
Playing varsity while still in middle school was tough for him to get used to the physicality and the fast-paced nature of it. He told PHD that the senior leadership has been huge for him as he tries to improve on his game.
“During my eighth-grade year, the senior leadership was big for me,” Libis said. “Seniors Zach Geraets and Dalton Houska were huge for keeping up the team morale after big losses and keeping us even keel after big wins. They looked after me like I was their little brother, which I cannot thank them enough for. They always put the team first and were great role models for me.”
The open gyms and practices have been very competitive and Libis has seen great improvement since he’s been on the team. He believes that their off-season success has transferred over to into the season.
During the summer along with the open gyms and team camps with the Cardinals, Libis also plays for the South Dakota Attack 15u team.
“We have competed with some of the best teams in the upper Midwest and currently stand 8-3 overall,” Libis said. “Coach Chris Buckmiller has been great for improving my overall defense and my talking in general.”
After a little of a break, Libis is looking forward to playing this week in St. Cloud. Then they finish out the summer season in Sioux Falls, Wichita, and Las Vegas.
Libis also competes in team camps with the Cardinals throughout the summer and has competed in some skills camps at the area colleges.
“Our school team has played in multiple team camps for St. Mary’s this summer,” Libis said. “I’ve played in a few college Elite camps like Augie & Mount Marty. My high school team also plays in the Monday night league vs. other school teams.”
As for the next season, Libis expects it to be the best one yet after breaking the 10-year drought of below .500 records.
“Our goal this upcoming season is to make the state tourney and look to be ranked for the first time since 2005,” Libis said. “We have put in the sweat & work to get to this point in the summer. We have also shown that we can compete with the best when our team defense improves our teams’ success will as well.”