PREP BOYS BASKETBALL: Marshall’s Bryce Paulsen, Matt Onken sign letters of intent to play basketball at Northwestern College
MARSHALL – For Matt Onken and Bryce Paulsen, four years sharing the court together simply wasn’t enough. With a quick scribble of the pen, they decided to extend their time as teammates.
The two Marshall seniors inked their National Letter of Intent on Wednesday morning to play basketball at Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, surrounded by their family, teammates and coaches.
Paulsen said he was excited to have this day come and is ready to take the next step.
“I’m so excited,” Paulsen said. “The coaches there are great and a lot of the players there we know and it’s going to be a great fit for both of us and we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
Onken said it’s been something he’s been waiting for since he was little.
“I’ve been wanting to play college basketball since I can remember and now that I finally can, it’s a dream come true,” Onken said.
The past few years, Onken and Paulsen have helped lead the way for the Tigers on the hardwood. Onken led the team in scoring this season at roughly 13.5 points per game while adding 4.3 rebounds per contest and 23 total assists and 13 steals. Paulsen averaged 8.6 points per game as well as 4.3 rebounds and added 65 total assists and 44 steals this year.
Onken said it was a long process, but what drew him to the Red Raiders was the proximity of the campus and just felt at home with the program.
“A lot of it was family and how close they would be so they could come to the games,” Onken said. “I love the coaches and the campus and the feeling when I walked on campus, I didn’t forget it.”
Paulsen added the coaching staff and players were very welcoming and he also was drawn to the faith aspect on the campus.
“Personally for me it was coaching staff,” Paulsen said. “They were just really welcoming and then the players were nice and campus was nice. I like the faith aspect of it and I’m sure that Matt can say the same.”
Starting a new chapter of your life can be a little challenging. Having a familiar face on campus will help, and Onken said it’ll be nice to be able to see Paulsen on a daily basis.
“It’ll be nice just always having that comfort knowing that you’re not alone and you always have that one person you can go and talk to will be nice,” Onken said.
Both players said their teammates and coaches at Marshall have had a tremendous impact on them and they are grateful for all they’ve done for them.
“I can’t even begin to describe the impact; it’s been so amazing,” Onken said. “Had amazing teammates every year from every grade level, and the coaches have been unbelievable. They’ve given me every opportunity I wanted and they keep pushing me every day even when basketball is over.”
“They’ve done so much for me,” Paulsen added. “They’ve taught me so much and without them, I definitely wouldn’t be here and I wouldn’t have this opportunity. I’m just so thankful for them and everything they’ve done for me.”
When they do step onto campus next fall, Onken said he’s looking forward to being able to grow on and off the court.
“Just being able to keep playing competitively and being able to play with Bryce down there too,” Onken said. “And then just to keep growing as a basketball player and as a person.”
Paulsen added he’s excited he gets to continue to play the game he loves.
“I’m just excited to play more basketball,” Paulsen said. “It’s what I love doing and I’m just excited that I can continue to do it for another four years.”