By Jackson Van Roekel
Published in The Burg November 3, 2022
Aidan Wagner is beginning his first season with the Carl Sandburg Chargers basketball team.
Wagner, a 2021 graduate of Galesburg High School, is looking to make his impact on the court as the 2022-2023 season begins. Academically, this is Wagner’s second year at Carl Sandburg College, after taking a gap year in the 21-22 school year. He focused on the weight room, development of his basketball skills, and taking classes at CSC. That makes Wagner a freshman, athletically. Majoring in education, Wagner is pursuing the goal of being a teacher and basketball coach upon graduating from Carl Sandburg.
Wagner will find himself in a combo-guard role for the Chargers, having skills as a point guard and shooting guard, similar to what he played at Galesburg High. His favorite memory at GHS was his junior season, where they had the second-best record in school history, posting a 28-4 overall record, and a 12-2 first-place record in the Western Big-6. Wagner’s senior season was cut short due to COVID, along with a number of senior activities.
Being a student-athlete is a full-time job. To help balance school and basketball, Wagner will set up days dedicated to school work. He has been taking online classes at CSC to be able to work 30 hours a week. Classes being pushed online during his senior year at GHS made the transition to online college classes easier.
Going from high school basketball to college basketball is an adjustment that not all student-athletes can make. The game is a lot more physical. In addition to physicality, size difference between high school and college players is a noticeable difference that has a factor on the court. For example, guards are usually about 6'0'' in high school, and 6'3'' in college. Forwards are usually about 6'3'' in high school, and 6'6'' or even taller in college. Standing 6'0'', Wagner relies on his playmaking ability and utilizes ball movement to create space on the basketball court. There’s more preparation, strategy, talent, and fewer ways to make an impact on the court. With that being said, making the most of the opportunities you’re given as a player is one of the most important aspects of college athletics. You either got it or you don’t, with limited time to develop. With so many players and fewer coaches, it’s hard to make a name for yourself in college athletics.
To help deal with pressure, Wagner says that he tries to “go back to basics and roots of where he started. Stick to the fundamentals.” He’s thankful for Coach Chad Thompson, who coached Wagner for multiple years in Galesburg, and current GHS Varsity Basketball coach. “He helped me a lot,” said Wagner. “He made me work harder, helped me in my recruitment process, and not go through the motions.”
Looking towards the winter, the Chargers are looking to build a competitive atmosphere on the court for years to come, fighting for a region title. The players are continuing to build chemistry as they play and compete. Coming together from all aspects of life for a common goal is one of the most overlooked and important aspects of college sports. Good luck to the Chargers in their 2022-2023 season.