Class keeps Hertel from games
By DIANE GASPER-O'BRIEN
Drew Hertel has had a tough choice to make the past two weeks.
A manager for the Wichita State University men's basketball team, Hertel had the chance to accompany the Shockers to the NCAA tournament in Salt Lake City last week.
The senior from Hays majoring in integrated marketing communications made the decision to stay back and watch his team on TV.
"A lot of my classes are my degree classes," said Hertel, who is on track to graduate in December. "It was a hard decision, but I can't afford to be missing that many classes right now."
Hertel was as excited as the next guy when the Shockers upset No. 1 seed Gonzaga to advance to this weekend's West Regional at Los Angeles.
The team left for L.A. on Tuesday morning, and again Hertel stayed behind in Wichita. He also has a part-time job.
"Four days of classes, that would be tough (to miss) right now. And I've got to pay the bills," he said with a chuckle.
Hertel, a 2009 graduate of Thomas More Prep-Marian High School, still keeps busy playing basketball himself. His intramural team at WSU went undefeated this winter.
But he has aspirations to be a coach someday, following in the footsteps of his dad, longtime TMP boys' coach Joe Hertel.
The younger Hertel said it's the practice time as much as anything where he has learned invaluable lessons from WSU coach Gregg Marshall.
"Coach Marshall is so helpful, and to learn from him has been an incredible experience," Hertel said.
Hertel said he plans to watch Thursday's game vs. La Salle on one of the 50-inch flatscreen TVs in the WSU locker room.
If the Shockers win two more games this week, they will advance to the Final Four in Atlanta, Ga.
"Then," Hertel said, "I think I will try to figure out some way to work it out with my classes and my job. Final Four -- that would be awesome."