Some different — although recognizable — faces took the court at Dawn Tibbetts Potter Arena last Saturday during the annual alumni basketball game.
The game, now in its tenth year, is an opportunity for former members of the Hillsdale College men’s basketball team to get back on the court and reconnect with friends.
“It’s a time to celebrate, really,” said former shooting guard Anthony Manno ‘14. “It’s almost like a mini-homecoming for the basketball players.”
Although two teams of six took the court, 25 total alumni attended the event.
“Even though they’ve graduated years ago, they’re still part of this program,” said head coach John Tharp, who is currently in his 10th year with the program.
According to Manno, the program is still a part of them, as well.
“There’s that connection, despite us not having the same coach,” Manno said. “Because we all wore ‘Hillsdale College’ across our chest and we’re all Chargers, we bond together.”
During the event, it becomes clear the connection goes beyond the common logo on the front of their jerseys.
“It’s always interesting to see the similarities we have in our beliefs, how competitive we are, and how much we love and respect Hillsdale College,” said Brandon Pritzl ‘14. “It’s always great to see that tradition’s been here for a long time.”
This year, Tom Farmer ‘04 won the game with a buzzer-beater shot in overtime, adding an extra element of excitement to the event.
It’s not just the game that matters to the alumni, though.
“It all goes back to community,” Manno said. “That’s what the alumni game is for me. It’s to see some of the people I made the best memories of my life with and to spend some time with them.”
Tharp said he’s always happy to catch up with past players and to see how they’ve grown.
“It’s a joyful moment,” Tharp said. “You see the success they’re having. You’re proud of them as people and as men. It’s an emotional night, truthfully.”
Some things, however, never change.
“Hillsdale college means a lot to them,” Tharp said, “and they mean a lot to us.”