By Tiffany L. Rehbein
Northern athletic fans will get their first peek at the Lights basketball program Saturday at the alumni games, held annually at the MSU-Northern gymnasium.
Its a great opportunity for former and current players to get together to play each other; telling stories, lying to each other a little bit, said Lights head coach Tim Walker.
The Lights tip-off is slated for 7 p.m., following the Lights wrestling.
Seniors Russell Keller, Michael Claxton, Powell Becker and Krste Serafimoski look to lead the Lights team this year.
Claxton, in the preseason, has been shooting extremely well from the perimeter, Walker said.
Keller, an all-around athlete, fills a lot of roles on the floor, while Becker and Serafimoski are big inside.
We treat it like a game, Walker said. I want to put our kids in a game-like situation.
These games will allow Walker, and his first-year assistant coaching staff of Reece Gliko and Jonathan Hanson, the opportunity to see strengths and weaknesses of his team.
Donnie Parisian, Toby Stack, Randy Robinson, Jason Wirt, Buck Merriweather, Tim Vandermars and Tom Hennessy have already signed up to play the Lights.
But, Walker said, often late commitments are made to play, and the alumni roster has traditionally had about 10 players, annually.
Its fun to get all the guys back, let them get a good sweat on and run a bit, Walker said.
Different this year for the Skylights, the current team will not be playing in the games.
Alumni are important, head Skylights coach Ray Peters said. Its a great deal; an opportunity for alumni to come back and revisit friends, teammates and visit the school. I think all that is great. These are the alumni games, he stressed.
The Skylights, who are finishing their first week of practice, are preparing for a preseason schedule that plays host to some big-time nationally-ranked teams, Peters said.
Traditionally, both the Lights and Skylights have come away from the games with a big W in the win column, but each year poses a new threat from the graduates.
Its fun to have these guys back, Walker said. The old stories that come out, to hear where theyve been and where theyre at, its neat for that to come out.
A chili feed will be held at the Gallery following the games.