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The Scarlet & Black

Intramural basketball heats up

Izak Gallini-Matyas ’15 dribbles in an intramural basketball game this week. Photo by Sarah Ruiz
Izak Gallini-Matyas ’15 dribbles in an intramural basketball game this week. Photo by Sarah Ruiz
Izak Gallini-Matyas ’15 dribbles in an intramural basketball game this week. Photo by Sarah Ruiz

Ask anyone (not just the basketball team) and they’ll say the most competitive intramural league at Grinnell College is intramural basketball. The victors of this hyped-up league stand to gain unparalleled honor and glory certain to extend beyond their most farfetched dreams. The season runs between April 2 and April 30, a three-week span that is of the utmost importance for participants of the league. 

Twelve teams are expected to compete for this year’s coveted title and the tension is palpable throughout campus. Do you really think that it is simply fog that you’ve been seeing outside your window all week? Clearly, it is a corporeal manifestation of the hype that has been surrounding this year’s tournament.

“Last year, the league wasn’t as talented. This year, the league has so much hype. There are at least four teams that are really good,” said Ryan Hautzinger ’15, captain of the reigning champions, “Just the Tip.”

“The beginning of the basketball game is the most important part. Got to begin with the tip and that’s why ‘Just the Tip’ is a thing. Can’t start slow,” Hautzinger said regarding the linguistic origins of this name.

“Just the Tip” is widely regarded as the number one seeded team for this year’s tournament due to the fact that they have won the championship the past two seasons. The majority of the team this year is from the tennis team, but also includes men’s basketball team members Luke Yeager ’15 and Hayes Gardner ’15 and former varsity player Leo Abbe-Schneider ’16.  With an all-star squad like this (Yeager is literally an all-star, having been named an honorable mention to the 2015 All-Midwest Conference Men’s Basketball First Team), it is no surprise that “Just the Tip” takes great pride in their recruiting process, which begins at the very beginning of the semester.

“It’s all about having little meetings, doing little favors here and there you know? [You’ve got to] make them sign the contract early,” Hautzinger said, providing subtle insight into the nuances of the recruitment process for future teams looking to compete.

The most realistic source competition for “Just the Tip” promises to be “My Woes,” the second-seeded team in the league, captained by Will Gottlieb ’15. As captain of one of the more popular teams in the league, Gottlieb speaks with a profound sense of pride when talking about the formation of the team.

“I was kind of trying to make a team with a couple of friends and then I was just trying to figure out a team with the rest of the people and once we had a foundation of people more people started to come in and went like, ‘Can we be on your team?’” Gottlieb said.

Gottlieb touted Uri Milian ’16 as the best player on the team aside from Tague Zachary ’15, member of the men’s basketball team.

Diverging slightly from the hyperbolic rhetoric of trash-talk and one-upmanship so central to the spirit of the league (or perhaps in an attempt to display a shrewd facade of coolness), Gottlieb calmly emphasized the prospect of a “fun” season. However, upon further pressing on the matter of trash-talk:

“Be prepared to deal with some serious height because Tague is big, and a monster,” Gottlieb said of Zachary, who checks in at 6’8” and 200 lbs.

The participation of varsity athletes in an intramural setting was something that Gottlieb brought up.

“I think it’s tricky. Obviously I’m excited to play with Tague, he’s a good friend of mine and he’s a lot of fun to play basketball with, but it makes it a bit more challenging for some of the not-as-talented players to feel comfortable getting out there. But there are also players that are not quite as good but still very talented, so I think that it’ll be nice that there’ll be a big mix of talent this season and it’ll make it interesting, but it’s definitely fun to compete against them but hard to keep up sometimes—they’re very good,” Gottlieb said.

Because it is unlikely that anything at all could even begin to compare to the 2015 intramural basketball league in terms of hype, whichever team emerges as champion stands to gain the utmost veneration among the entire Grinnell College community.

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