Men's College Basketball

Hawks show strong support for Hellenthal

By Herald-Whig
Posted: Aug. 11, 2017 12:10 am

QUINCY -- Trevor Meny had come to Quincy on Thursday morning with no knowledge of the coaching changes happening within the Quincy University men's basketball program.

Once the news broke, he took the time to visit the coaching offices and offer Ryan Hellenthal some support.

Hellenthal, 37, is taking over the Hawks' head coach after one season as the top assistant. Marty Bell announced he was retiring after 14 seasons at the helm to focus all his efforts on his role as the school's vice president of intercollegiate athletics, and Hellenthal was the logical and expected replacement.

"I know he'll do anyting for us, and we'll do anything for him," said Meny, a sophomore guard. "He's been in the program and has built the relationships with us. It's nice to just to switch spots and be ready to go."

While the coaching change occurs a little more than a week before the Hawks are scheduled to report to campus, the shakeup was hardly unexpected.

The players watched from afar as Bell interviewed for the athletic director position at Missouri Western. Although he was bypassed for that job, the Hawks knew Bell's coaching days were dwindling.

"I wasn't necessarily too surprised by it," said Ryan Briscoe, a redshirt freshman point guard. "I figured he'd give it to Coach Hellenthal and deservedly so. I wasn't too caught off guard at all."

Having a relationship with Hellenthal helps the transition.

"He's done a great job of being personable with all the guys and trying to involve himself with everybody and trying to connect with all the guys," Briscoe said. "He built relationships with everyone and got really close to some of the seniors last year even though he was with them for only a year.

"He's continued to build relationships with all of us. He was checking in on me throughout the summer, staying in touch and just making sure his guys were doing all right, which is awesome."

Thursday morning, Hellenthal contacted the players to explain the transition and deliver a simple message.

"He let us know when we get back we're going to get after it," said junior swingman Marcus Hinton, the top returning scorer who averaged 8.4 points for a team that finished 25-7. "We've got to grind."

That would be the case no matter who the head coach is.

"We're still the Hawks," Hinton said. "They coach and tell you what to do, but we're the players and we have to play the game. Either way, we've got to get it done."

The players communicated among themselves with a group chat and the overriding sentiment was complete support for Hellenthal and the desire to get to work.

"He's real intense," Hinton said. "You might have seen everything we saw practice, but he got in our shirts when he needed to. You need that sometimes. He told me a lot of good things last season that helped me, and I know he's going to help me keep improving this year."

So in essence, not a lot will be changing, which put the Hawks at ease.

"Coach Hellenthal and Coach Bell were on the same page all the time," Briscoe said. "It's just one change and I'm sure nothing major is going to change with how we're going to play. I'm sure he'll have some things he'll want to install into our offense or defense.

"There's nothing that's going to be a huge shift or throw everyone off guard."

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