Nomeland plays big in All-Star gamesGoing into last weekend’s senior all-star games in St. Cloud and St. Paul, Leif Nomeland admitted that he did not really know what to expect.
By: By Eric Morken, Sports Reporter, Alexandria Echo Press
Going into last weekend’s senior all-star games in St. Cloud and St. Paul, Leif Nomeland admitted that he did not really know what to expect.
He would be going up against many of the best players in the state of Minnesota, nine of whom will be attending Division I universities next season on basketball scholarships.
Nomeland has dominated the Prairie Conference over his years at Osakis. He is in the top 50 on the state’s all-time scoring list and second on the state’s all-time rebounding list with 1,469 boards. Even he did not know how he would perform against some of the metro’s most highly touted players, though.
“I didn’t quite know what type of skill level was going to be there,” Nomeland said. “I didn’t know if these guys were going to be [a lot] better than me. But the skill level there, there wasn’t a whole lot of difference between Division I and Division II caliber players. It was pretty fun to see that, and I feel like I am ready for next year. I know I have a lot of work to do between now and then, but it really did give me a lot of confidence going into next season.”
Nomeland proved to those in attendance and, perhaps more importantly, to himself, that he belonged among the best in the state. He scored a total of 28 points in the two games, including 19 in the second game of the tournament. His blue team won the event with a 2-0 record after a 105-77 victory on Friday and a 98-90 win on Saturday.
“It was a lot of fun,” he said. “It’s not every day that you get to hang out with guys of that caliber. It was also fun because you got to sit back and relax a lot. It was pretty intense on the court, but you got to hang out and it wasn’t all just basketball. It was fun hanging out at the hotel and just getting to know some other guys.”
Going into the tournament, Nomeland had made up his mind that he wanted to represent Osakis and all the small schools across the state that do not get as much attention.
When all 40 players were gathered together by the director of the all-star festivities, they were told that every one of them were all-stars, and they deserved to be there. Even with that bode of confidence, Nomeland wanted to prove something.
“That’s the mentality I had going in right away,” he said. “I felt like I was from a small school and from a lower class…inside myself I felt that being where I live, we don’t get as much coverage as some of those in the metro area, so it was fun being able to put my name out there.”
Nomeland will hope to carry over the confidence he gained at the tournament into next season when he begins his career at Augustana. With no AAU ball to play this summer and no organized tournaments on the horizon, he said he will continue to work out on his own and prepare himself for what he knows will be a big jump to the next level.
The atmosphere at the all-star game was pretty casual, with players getting up and down the court, resulting in some high-scoring games. It does not emulate the kind of defense that these players will see in college next season. If it does something, though, it’s that it can give the athletes the confidence to know that they can compete against premier competition.