January 2003, "Kewpie of the Month"
While at Hickman I had the time of my life. From helping to lead the Kewpies on the basketball court to hanging out with friends. I helped us win the district championship in 2000 and 2001 however we were upset in 2002. The experiences that I had at Hickman helped me get to where I am now. I'm currently a freshman at Austin Peay State University in Clarksville, TN on a basketball scholarship. I have just finished my first semester of college and love it. We have a 4-3 record right now and I am adjusting well to the college game. We are working towards the goal of winning the OVC and going to the NCAA tournament.
Zac Schlader has noticed two major differences between high school and college basketball.
Ed Pfueller photo
"Strength and speed, those are the two big
things," said Schlader, a 2002 Hickman graduate now playing for Austin
Peay. "Everyone’s a lot stronger, and the game is twice as fast, if not
"It was a little rough," said Schlader, who missed his only two shots during 12 minutes of action in his Columbia homecoming.
Schlader actually made three less shots in the game than former Hickman classmate Pat McInvale did during a shootout contest at halftime. Of course, McInvale wasn’t dealing with a relentless Missouri defense that forced Austin Peay (2-1) to shoot 29 percent (16 of 55) from the field.
"Zac’s just learning to play at the Division I level," Governors Coach Dave Loos said. "He’s got to get stronger and play more aggressive in there. He’ll be all right. This is a tough environment for him to have to step into."
Besides the cheers from family members and high school friends who came to watch him, Schlader received his official baptism into big-time basketball by having a few jeers directed at him from the Antlers.
"I noticed them a little bit," Schlader said of the notorious cheering section that even had a sign detailing a former high school classmate’s love for the 6-foot-9, 220-pound center.
Sporting longer hair than his high school days, Schlader entered the game with 13:42 left in the first half and the score tied at 10. The two-year Hickman starter admitted to a few extra nerves, but he said it didn’t affect his play.
"It wasn’t too bad," Schlader said. "It’s not like it’s the first time I’ve every played here, but it’s a little different when you have 10,000 people who all know you’re from Columbia."
Schlader’s entrance in the game coincided with the MU debut of prized recruit Jimmy McKinney. By the time Schlader got his first breather at the 9:44 mark, McKinney had sparked the Tigers to a 20-13 lead and the rout was on.
Matching up against Travon Bryant during most of his minutes, Schlader missed two turnaround jumpers and late in the game stripped Missouri’s Jeffrey Ferguson underneath for a steal.
Despite the loss, it was a memorable experience for Schlader, who just last year was cheering for the Tigers from the stands.
"I never really thought I would be guarding them in a game here at Hearnes Center back when I was watching them," Schlader said. "It was pretty cool being able to be out there."
See story from the "Columbia Daily Tribune"
By RUS BAER of the Tribune’s staff
Published Sunday, December 1, 2002