Gunderson: Becoming the go-to guyPublished 11:30am Wednesday, January 2, 2013
Austin grad Connor Gunderson is excelling at St. Olaf
NORTHFIELD — In his third year as a starter for the St. Olaf men’s basketball team, Austin grad Connor Gunderson is starting to feel the focus on him again.
After two seasons of averaging about 8 points per game, Gunderson, a 6-6, 200-pound forward who has started every game since coming to St. Olaf, has broken out as the team’s leading scorer this season.
Gunderson is averaging 17.5 points per game on 65 percent shooting, he’s adding a team-high 4.7 rebounds per game and he has just 10 turnovers in 161 minutes. Getting the ball on a regular basis is starting to remind Gunderson of his days with the Austin Packers, where he was the focal point of the offense.
“It’s kind of like high school again,” Gunderson said. “I give my teammates a lot of credit for setting screens and setting me up for good looks.”
Gunderson credits his scoring explosion to taking a lot of looks near the basket. So far, he’s attempted just nine three-pointers for the Oles (3-5 overall).
He’d like to see St. Olaf make a run this year as the team has a strong junior class that has been together for awhile.
“We want to get to the NCAA tournament and we want to win our conference, but everybody is tough on our schedule,” he said.
While Gunderson is enjoying his success at St. Olaf, he also has kept his eye on Austin’s basketball team. While he hasn’t been able to see them play yet, he has listened to them on the radio and has talked to some of the players about their success.
Gunderson played with Austin forward Tom Aase when Aase was a freshman on the varsity team and he has high hopes for the Packers this season.
“They have a chance to go to state and win it this year,” Gunderson said. “When I played we were a good group of guys and we were all friends. I think that we showed them a good example and were role models for them. They just took it to another level.”
The Oles will host Concordia-Moorhead Jan. 2 at 7:45 p.m.