Chick Evans becomes fieldhouse of dreams

By Wes Swietek

Proof that dreams die hard was abundant last night at Chick Evans Field House.

It was evident in the faces and thoughts of about 60 young men who came out for a chance to fulfill a dream—the dream to play Division-I collegiate basketball.

uskies’ coach Brian Hammel and his assistants watched as the hopefuls played five-on-five, looking for a player who could make the Huskies as a walk-on.

Among the hopefuls was freshman Jose Lindsey from Chicago.

“I felt I might be good enough to play at this level,” said a sweat-soaked Lindsey, fresh from his 20-minute shot to make an impression. “Everybody out there is pretty nervous, so it’s pretty wild,” he said of the shoot first, ask questions later games.

Scott Fricke, a sophomore, thought he had a shot, “until I came out here and saw about 200 people,” he said with a smile. “The level of play isn’t at the top, but everyone is hustling.”

One of the players whose hustle caught the eye of the NIU coaching staff was Brad Lindsay, a junior who played at Rock Valley Junior College last year.

“It’s hard to make an impression because there are so many players. I just made sure I was the hardest worker out there,” Lindsay said.

“It’s always been my dream to play Division-I basketball. If I didn’t try out, I’d be second-guessing myself all my life.”

Hammel said his staff might call back as many as eight players for a second look. “I thought there’d be some good players in a school this size … but I didn’t expect this many,” Hammel said.

Junior Greg Morris was taking another shot at his dream after he unsuccessfully auditioned for then-NIU coach Jim Molinari two years ago.

“To play Division-I basketball has always been my dream,” he said.

Last night at the fieldhouse, he was not alone.