The Echoes

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Years of practice have allowed senior Dru Kuxhausen to rewrite the record book

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Dru Kuxhausen makes the game of basketball look easy.

After all, he’s already the leading scorer in school history having amassed over 2,000 points.  He also set the school’s single season scoring record this year with over 700 points.

Kuxhausen also recently became the leading scorer in the history of the Panhandle surpassing Chadron’s Kevin Moore who graduated in 1973.

Every time the 6’ senior goes up and releases one of his silky smooth three point shots in a fluid motion that defies description, spectators can easily forget that it was skill that took years to perfect.

Like most great athletes, Kuxhausen started his basketball career at a young age.

He began with YMCA ball when he was four.  But unlike most kids, Kuxhausen would grow up to develop a dedication to the sport not many young people possess.

The biggest influence on his dedication came from his father, A. J. who taught him the game of basketball, and more importantly, how to shoot.

A.J. played most of his high school ball in Mitchell and then played college ball

Kuxhausen’s shot is a mix of natural ability and literally hundreds of thousands of shots he has taken in practice.

“I spend about an hour and a half or two hours at the YMCA a day,” Kuxhausen said. Those two hours he spends playing on his own, don’t include the two hour team practices he attends every day as well.

Head Coach Scott Gullion said Dru’s success can be attributed to several factors.

“Dru’s shot is the same every time and that has come from his work ethic,” Gullion said.  “Good shooters develop their skills from repetition and muscle memory.  Dru’s mentality, and every good shooter’s mentality, is that they believe the shot is going in each time they take it no matter if they’ve missed a couple in a row or not.”

With that much time spent in the gym, it is little wonder Kuxhausen has become one of the best players in the state over the last two seasons.

“In my opinion, Dru is the best shooter in the state and one of the best players overall. I can confidently say that no one works harder on their individual improvement than he does,” former boys basketball coach Tony Siske, said.

Siske, now the head coach at Norfolk High School, has seen most of the best players the state has to offer this year.

One of Kuxhausen’s best performances came during his junior year against Casper Natrona at the Gillette Tournament. During that game he broke the school’s scoring record scoring 52 points.

The night before the game the scoring record wasn’t even a thought for Kuxhausen. He was actually sick and ended up in the emergency room.

During the game, Kuxhausen was unaware of the points he had scored, and didn’t know he broke the record until he came out of the game.

“I was really sick the night before, so I didn’t think I would break the record that game. When I was playing, I didn’t really know I was close to breaking the record. I just knew I had a lot of points,” Kuxhausen said.

Fortunately, Kuxhausen has been injury-free for most of his career.

Two weeks after the state basketball tournament last spring, Kuxhausen competed in a nine-foot tournament when he hit his thumb on another player’s elbow and broke it.

“It didn’t affect how much I played. I still played the same amount, I just did a lot more with my left hand,” Kuxhausen said.

As his final season comes to an end Kuxhausen has one thing on his mind.

“We want to win the state championship,” Kuxhausen said.

As of press time on Tuesday, the Bearcats had reached the finals of the B-6 district tournament with a wild-card berth to the state tournament already in their back pocket.

While Kuxhausen has big plans on how he wants his high school basketball career to end, he has a bright college career to look forward to.

Last November, Kuxhausen signed his letter-of-intent to play at Chadron State College in the fall of 2017.

“I really got to know the new coach and I really like him. I also liked Chadron because it’s close to home,” Kuxhausen said.

Playing at the college level holds a whole new world of competition, and Kuxhausen is ready to take on whatever it may throw at him.

“I’ll have to get quicker and become a better shooter. I’ll just have to get used to playing against bigger and more athletic guys,” Kuxhausen said.

If history is any indication of future success, Kuxhausen will undoubtedly do whatever it takes to get himself ready for the next level.

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