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Left to right: Jim Shuster ‘85, Pro­fessor Mark Kahltoff ‘84, Jack Furlong ‘85, Bill Granberry ‘85, Ed Peper ‘85, Dave Springer ‘84, and former Hillsdale College trainer Paul Beachler attend the alumni event on Sat­urday. (Photo: John Tharp / Courtesy)

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.”