Sawyer Strelnieks—Staff Writer
Andrew O’Donnell was the only senior playing on the men’s basketball team this past season and he played every game with no regrets. O’Donnell wanted no reason to dwell on the past and he showed that every chance he got on the court.
Before landing a spot on the Dordt men’s basketball team, O’Donnell played for Sioux Center High School where he earned All-Conference and All-State honors. O’Donnell averaged over 10 points per game his senior year. O’Donnell was a multisport athlete in high school, leading his high school’s football team to the state semifinals his senior year as well.
Having a successful high school career, O’Donnell moved down the street to Dordt where he continued playing for the Defenders. Wearing the #1 jersey, he hit the ground running, playing in all 31 games his freshman year, averaging six points per game and three rebounds per game.
Being one of two seniors on the team put O’Donnell in the position of being both a leader and one of the most experienced players on the court. He had over 120 consecutive games playing for the Defenders by the end of his senior season.
O’Donnell averaged 9.6 points per game his junior year and 6.5 his senior year. He played a significant role for the Defenders the past four years, both offensively and defensively.
Andrew said this season was very different compared to previous seasons. He was very close with the rest of his team which made coming to practice every day a blast.
“It was a privilege to play college basketball for Dordt,” O’Donnell said. “There were days where I took that for granted, as it seemed it would never end.”
O’Donnell learned that everything in life can come to an end pretty quickly. A lot of athletes can relate to lacing up for the first game of their senior year and the next thing they know, they’re stepping off the court for the rest of their sports career.
Dordt basketball taught Andrew to not only be a successful player on the court, but also how to be successful in every aspect of his life. He grew in his faith walk and his social life over the years playing for Dordt.
O’Donnell said playing at Dordt was fun, especially in the De Witt gymnasium. His favorite memory, however, was beating both Dakota Wesleyan and Briar Cliff at the Corn Palace in Mitchell, S.D. Both teams are GPAC opponents for Dordt.
Playing for Dordt was a decision that changed O’Donnell in many ways. It helped him grow in his faith, work hard in the classroom and meet great people. Stepping into the De Witt was what he enjoyed most. The support of the fans at Dordt, he said, was unheard of compared to other teams.
Having such a great crowd proves that a sport like basketball is one that we all participate in, much like life. Some of us are on the court and others are encouraging from the stands. Andrew realized this playing for Dordt. He left it all out on the court and he has adopted this metaphor in his life.