View from bench

Redshirt basketball players still feel part of team

Brandon Bee, Staff Writer

Redshirts experience their time on the team at the end of the bench. 

They support the team, practice and go through the plays that they run with the team, but they do not play in any of the games. Collegiate players may redshirt a single season during their four-year college career to hold back their eligibility to play for one more season to extend their career to five years. Redshirting can be due to injuries or development that players go through.

According to Seattle Pacific University women’s basketball coach Mike Simonson, there are different kinds of redshirting for different situations. 

At the beginning of the year, junior Kaprice Boston was injured two games into the season and sat out for the rest of the season. She will be redshirting this season because of that injury. 

Simonson said that “true redshirting” is when a player has not played a single minute, which is the case with freshman Hunter Beirne.

“It gave me a lot of time to learn with the upperclassmen, learn the system and grow,” Beirne said, who suffered a torn ACL in high school and spent this season getting back to full strength.  

“It has just been really advantageous. I am really excited for next year now that I’ve had a whole year to both come back and sort have been prepared to play at the college level.”

Redshirt freshmen usually do not travel on long-distance trips with the team, but Beirne said that she traveled with the team due to the roster being smaller this season.

“I was able to travel with the team. A lot of redshirts don’t get that opportunity,” Beirne said. “So I felt like maybe the isolating part of redshirting wasn’t really an aspect for me just because I got to go to every away game and go to all the meals and I never really felt like I missed out on a lot.”

Beirne talked about her plans in the upcoming seasons and how redshirting will help her to develop as a player. She explained that redshirting can help her understand the strategies of the team, like the plays and their defense. Having that year to know the system gives her an advantage.

“I just think it really prepared me well,” she said.

For the men’s basketball team, Zack Paulsen, Clayton Whitman and Chris Penner are all redshirting this season. 

Early into the season, freshman Paulsen had an ankle injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season. Paulsen played in six games to start the season in the 2019-2020 season and has yet to return to the court.

“It’s tough, but it’s also cool because you get to learn. You get to watch and you get to see the other side of things,” Paulsen said. “You get to learn the game more before you get thrown into it.”

Paulsen talked about his experiences with hanging around the locker room and being with the other players during games and practices but, due to the injury, he misses being on the court.

“It’s cool because we are all pretty close still,” he said. “We still get the same bond and get to hang out with the team all the time. It’s just different because I don’t get to be on the court as much.”

Freshman Clayton Whitman has not played a single minute this season for the men’s team. For Whitman, as a redshirt, he typically will not travel with the team to many away games; he will only be with the team during home games and games within driving distance. Instead of playing with the team during games, Whitman and the other redshirts get time to practice with the coaches. 

“We all get our own training sessions in with the coaches. We get some one-on-one,” Whitman said.

Whitman has big hopes for his basketball career in the future at SPU and is looking forward to the next season. 

“I am ready to play. I was looking forward to playing this year,” Whitman said. “But sometimes it’s just not how it works out, so I am even more amped to go next year. And this season went fast.”

Being a redshirt means more than just being on one of the last roster spots on the team. Athletes get to experience their time as a part of the team, even though sometimes it may not be going on road trips. Redshirting gives them an opportunity to learn and get acclimated into the system so that they are ready in the future to play for the team.

“It will teach everyone to not take their time for granted and just learn more,” Paulsen said. “And you get to prepare and get your mind right before you get to play physically,”