ORIGINALLY WRITTEN BY LINDSAY NUSZ
From Crusader to Blue Dragon to Bluejay, Chad Premer has worked his up the basketball ladder. He is the only senior in the Tabor College basketball program?and not just on the men?s team.
?Intense? is the one word used to describe Premer, according to coach Don Brubacher and Premer?s teammates.
?Chad doesn?t only have the most experience on the team, he?s the only senior,? Brubacher said. ?He brings positive leadership to the program.?
?He doesn?t like to lose,? said teammate Kevin Koehn, a junior from Montezuma. ?He leads by example more than vocally. He plays hard all the time.?
Premer transferred to Tabor in 1997 playing two years for Hutchinson Community College.
Prior to Hutch Juco he was a standout at Buhler High School. While in high school Premer was named an honorable mention pick for the 5A all-state team, nominated for McDonald?s All-America team, and received numerous league honors.
?Premer is one of the most skilled players on the team,? Brubacher said. ?He brings a wide variety of talents to our program.?
Making the transition from junior college to the KCAC was a positive move for Premer. HCC is part of the Jayhawk Conference, known as one of the toughest juco conference in the nation.
Athletes from across the nation love to play in the Jayhawk Conference. Many of those athletes went first to NCAA Division I schools, but could not make their grades, or dropped out.
?I like KCAC basketball better,? Premer said. ?It is a completely different level of athletes. This is more my style of basketball and it fits my game better.?
Premer?s fondest basketball memory at Tabor College was the Bluejays? win over Bethel last year at home.
?They were undefeated in conference and had beaten us at there place earlier in the season, but when they came here we beat them,? Premer said.
Premer is fond of Tabor because of the opportunity he has had to play sports and receive a good education. He said some of the best memories of his life are of his teammates and friends at Tabor College.
Premer was named honorable mention All-KCAC and NAIA Academic All-America his first year at Tabor.
?The main and first reason I looked into Tabor was because of their good science program,? he said. ?They are known for there success level of the science department.?
Premer prefers the atmosphere of a bigger town, but he was glad to go to school in Hillsboro.
?I wish we had more things to do, but I enjoyed the one-on-one attention we get here,? he said.
In his four years of college basketball, Premer has had four different head coaches. He said each coach had a different approach and effect on his life.
?I really appreciated Coach Jankovich, who is now the assistant coach at Vanderbilt,? Premer said. ?He had the biggest influence on me. He was my head coach my sophomore year at Hutch. He was a basketball genius and the greatest motivator. He was sarcastic and fun on and off the court.?
Premer, who has been averaging 10 points a game this season, also has appreciated playing for his current coach, Brubacher.
?He is very detail-oriented and precise,? Premer said. ?He is a perfectionist, which I like. It?s very challenging playing for him. He wants us to play a perfect game. You can tell he cares about us as more than just players by the way he communicates.?
After he graduates in May, Premer plans to attend optometry school.
?I will have to leave Kansas, there are no optometry schools in Kansas,? he said. ?I am currently looking at schools in St. Louis, Illinois and Oregon.?
As usual, Tabor will hold a ?Senior Night? this year, but it will be different than in previous years. Because he is the only senior in the program, the event will become ?Premer Night? instead of ?Senior Night.?
?It?s going to be kind of weird,? he said. ?I am not looking forward to it being my last home game.?