Press No. 10 Sports Story of 2011: It was an unpredictable year for Joe HanstadTo say 2011 was unpredictable for Joe Hanstad is an understatement.
By: Dustin Monke, The Dickinson Press
Editor’s Note: The Dickinson Press’ Top 10 sports stories of 2011 countdown begins today and continues through Dec. 31. Each story in the countdown will be presented as a column with the reporter’s take on why the story was impactful this year.
To say 2011 was unpredictable for Joe Hanstad is an understatement.
Lauded as one of the best basketball players to ever come out of Dickinson, perhaps even North Dakota, Hanstad’s year is one he will never forget when it comes to the game he loves.
A wrist injury shortened his high school season and likely cost him the Mr. Basketball award — an honor he seemed all but assured to win coming into the his senior year — not to mention a chance at becoming Class A’s all-time leading scorer.
After graduating from Dickinson High, Hanstad moved on to Boise State, where he was expected to redshirt his freshman season — that is until Dec. 17, when the team officially pulled Hanstad’s redshirt when he made his debut against Denver, playing 12 minutes in a loss.
Hanstad’s unpredictable, yet memorable year is The Dickinson Press’ No. 10 sports story of 2011.
Things started off so well for the 6-foot-4 guard.
In his second game the 2011 calendar year on Jan. 7, Hanstad erupted career-high 44 points and had 10 rebounds in a loss to Jamestown.
He was leading Class A in scoring when his senior season took an abrupt U-turn when it was discovered he had fractured his right wrist — his shooting hand — during a loss to Bismarck High on Jan. 17.
He returned just six weeks later and played in the West Region Tournament, where the Midgets fell one win short of reaching the state tournament.
Hanstad was averaging 25.1 points per game when he was injured. He ended up averaging 23.5 points over 11 games and finished his career with 1,835 total points, which put him third on Class A’s all-time charts.
“I’ve been around a lot of athletes and Joe is the one who has put in more time than anyone I have ever seen,” Dickinson boys basketball coach John Wilson said in a March 24 Press article. “You have to think our season might have ended in a little different way with him out there the whole season.”
Hanstad ended his career with a three-time unanimous all-state first team selections, a Gatorade Player of the Year award which he received as a sophomore and, despite his injury, the Class A senior player of the year honor following the 2010-11 season. He also finished second in the Mr. Basketball voting.
Following Hanstad’s final game in a Dickinson Midgets uniform last season, one opposing coach summed up his abilities and what he meant to high school basketball in North Dakota during his career.
“I’m personally glad I don’t have to see him anymore because he’s been a nightmare for me for three years,” Mandan head coach Jason Horner said with a smile during a March 6 article in The Press. “… We put three guys around him all the time. When you take as much practice time to prepare for one kid as we did for him the last three years, that says what kind of caliber of player he is.”
Monke is the sports editor of The Dickinson Press. He can be reached at email@example.com. Read his blog at http://monke.areavoices.com.