Former Rochelle basketball players returning for first-ever alumni game

Tip-off scheduled for 2 p.m. on Saturday at RTHS

Grant Prusator finished his prep basketball career as one of Rochelle Township High School’s greatest scorers. Prusator graduated RTHS in 2013, and he went on to play college basketball at Highland Community College before transferring to Indiana State University and ending his run at Arkansas Tech University.

Prusator may be roughly five years removed from his high school basketball career, but the former Rochelle standout will have an opportunity to light up the scoreboard at his old stomping grounds this weekend, when the RTHS basketball program will tip off its first-ever Hub Alumni Basketball Game.

“I’m excited to come back home,” Prusator said. “I’m looking forward to being on the floor with some old teammates as well as the guys I looked up to when I was in elementary school and dreaming about playing for the Hubs. I think it’s important for us to continue growing the Hub basketball fraternity.”

Prusator is one of several former players suiting for game action this weekend. Another 2013 graduate taking the court is Matt Rosenwinkel, who played four years of basketball at Northern Kentucky University after graduating RTHS. More players from recent years include Daniel McAnly (2017), Jake Ryan (2014) and Ben O’Rorke (2014).

“I’ve been looking forward to coming back and playing in this game since the first time I heard about it roughly one year ago,” Rosenwinkel said. “The best things about playing for the Hubs were the crowds, my teammates and the coaches. The best memory I had was when Grant [Prusator] hit the game-winning shot against DeKalb during my sophomore year.”

David Newton, Scott Stevens, Will Widick and Chris Williams are all returning from Rochelle’s Class of 2012, while Tyler Christopherson will represent the RTHS Class of 2011. Three players from the 2005 squad are hitting the Rochelle hardwood including Dan Schacht, Jeff Dickey and Matt Rogers.

“I’m really excited about the alumni game at the high school this year,” Rogers said. “My favorite part about playing basketball at Rochelle was the controlled-chaos offense and defense that coach [Russ] Zick and coach [Tim] Thompson ran. The fast-paced offense and high-pressure defense was always a staple of Rochelle basketball.”

“It’s not every day that us old guys can get back in the gym and get up and down the court,” Schacht added. “When Tim and Jared [Johnson] told me about the plans for an alumni game, I became really excited and I put the date on my calendar to get myself back into basketball shape. I’m looking forward to catching up with the coaches and old friends.”

Rochelle alums from even further back are planning to participate as well. Kersten Strothman and Derek Horner are returning after roughly 20 years away from their high school basketball court, and four members of the Class of 1996 are playing including Joe Williams, Shawn Kemp, Jared Dickey and Brad Schabacker. Jeff Seebach (1993) is the elder statesman of the group.

24 years separate Rochelle’s oldest participant (Seebach) from the school’s youngest (McAnly). But regardless of old school vs. new school, the former Hubs are all united in their support of Rochelle basketball, and many of the lessons they learned from their time with the team still present themselves today.

“There are a lot of great lessons learned from my time in the Rochelle program but the one that I use daily is about attitude,” Schacht said. “Attitude towards every situation you face in life shapes your response and the things you can have an impact on. It truly is a self-fulfilling prophecy on how you will walk through life. I feel like this was a lesson we learned as a team through my years.”

“I’m excited to start creating similar memories with the alums at Rochelle that I made with my former teammates at North Central College,” Rogers followed. “I’m always reminded on a daily basis about how hard work will get you somewhere in life. Coach Zick always told us that we don’t have to have the most talent to win a basketball game, we just have to work harder than our opponents.”



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