It wasn’t long ago Sean McGann and Chris Siebert shared the court at Baraboo High School.
Siebert was a standout senior during the 2008-09 Thunderbirds basketball season while McGann was earning sporadic varsity minutes as a freshman.
“I remember one game Sean was so nervous he came out with his shorts on backwards,” Siebert said. “It was great to see him develop as the season went on and we knew he’d be a great player and have a great career.”
Four years later, two of the best to dribble a basketball for Baraboo reunite Thursday night on the collegiate hardcourt when Siebert’s Lawrence University Vikings welcome McGann’s UW-Stevens Point Pointers in season-opening action for both NCAA Division III programs.
Remaining close friends since those high school days, the former teammates will be foes come tipoff.
“It’ll be awesome, I’ve been looking forward to this game for a couple months now,” said McGann, a 6-foot-4 freshman guard/forward.“We have been talking a little trash through texting this week and it’s been a lot of fun.”
Siebert, a 6-2 junior guard, was an All-Midwest Conference selection for the Vikings last season after averaging 16.6 points, four assists and nearly two steals per game. He also shot 43 percent from the floor, including 41.6 percent on 3-pointers.
Now in his third year playing for Lawrence, Siebert’s interest in tomorrow’s matchup goes beyond just the chance to face his younger buddy.
“Just to play Stevens Point is an opportunity — we’ve played them each year I’ve been here and have lost,” he said.
The Pointers are ranked No. 15 in a preseason poll by D3hoops.com after earning a spot in the NCAA Division III tournament last season for the sixth-consecutive year. The program has finished no lower than third place in the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Conference (WIAC) standings since 1999-00.
“It’s a game we all look forward to,” added Siebert, whose team last beat UW-SP in 2008-09. “It’s a huge opportunity for us to get our first win and get our season kick-started against great competition.”
And what about the potential to go up against McGann, who is third all-time in career scoring (1,074 points) for BHS — 25 points ahead of Siebert (1,049) — and was recruited by Lawrence before siding with UW-SP last spring?
Better yet, what if there’s a one-on-one opportunity?
“I pray every single night for that,” Siebert said with a laugh. “If he’s on me for just one possession there will be a flagrant (foul) called.”
McGann acknowledged he could see some playing time Thursday after seeing the floor in a pair of preseason games.
He, too, welcomes the opportunity to stare down his pal in the half court.
“Chris has improved a lot and is a great player, a great friend,” he said. “He taught me a lot and took me under his wing in high school and I’m still learning from him. I’m definitely hoping at some point in the game to guard him.”
And the trash talking?
With family and friends from Baraboo expected to attend the game, Siebert hopes he gets to throw the the last barb.
“The final score will hopefully do the talking and that will be good enough,” he said.
Tickets to the game are free and tipoff is at 7 p.m.