Ryan Hellenthal relishes the opportunity to showcase all the Quincy University men's basketball program has to offer.
He's anxious to see some good basketball, too.
The Hawks will hold their annual team camp this weekend with teams from the tri-state area and beyond pouring into Pepsi Arena and the QU Health and Fitness Center for two days of spirited play. Games begin at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday with a number of marquee matchups on tap.
"We made it our goal to attract some high-profile programs and some talented players," said Hellenthal, who is heading into his second season as the Hawks' head coach. "It gives us the opportunity to show off our program and our campus. It's a great event for our campus. We're going to have 500-plus student-athletes on our campus this weekend."
Two of the teams stepping into the spotlight will be Quincy Notre Dame and Columbia (Mo.) Father Tolton when they meet at 7 p.m. Friday in Pepsi Arena.
The Raiders have won back-to-back regional championships and return a nucleus that includes senior swingman Johnny Ray, senior guard Nick Schwartz, senior guard Dylan Foley and a bevy of talented underclassmen. Father Tolton, which is coached by Quincy High School product Jeremy Osborne, has an experienced backcourt that includes Coban Porter, the younger brother of soon-to-be NBA draft pick Michael Porter Jr.
There are plenty of other names to pique basketball fans' interest as well. Monroe City features senior guard C.E. Talton. Hannibal is led by senior guard Dezi Jones, the program's single-game, single-season and career scoring leader. Taylorville's Jace Bergschneider, a junior shooting guard who averaged 15.5 points per game, is one of the top players in the metro Springfield area.
In fact, the Tornadoes are coming off their first 20-win season since 1984 when Jens Kujawa played the post.
Other top teams include Columbia (Mo.) Hickman, Granite City, United Township and La Salette Academy out of Georgetown, Ill.
"There's going to be some really good basketball played this weekend," Hellenthal said. "I'm happy we are able to do this."
Jacob comes off DL ?for Blue Jays
Former Quincy University first baseman David Jacob opened his third season in the Toronto Blue Jays organization on the disabled list while rehabbing a meniscus injury suffered late in spring training.
The process may have taken longer than he liked, but Jacob is off the DL and playing again.
Assigned to Dunedin, the Blue Jays' Class A-Advanced affiliate in the Florida State League, Jacob collected hits in his first four games and is batting .292 after going 1 for 3 with an RBI single Wednesday night in a 6-5 loss to the Charlotte Stone Crabs.
Since being drafted in 2016 in the 32nd round, Jacob has climbed from the rookie league Bluefield Blue Jays through Class A short-season Vancouver and Class A Lansing to get to Dunedin.
Overall, he's hitting .289 in his minor league career.
QU assistant gets job at Saint Xavier
Tom Ryan spent last winter as a graduate assistant with the Quincy University men's volleyball program while he finished his master's degree in business administration.
With his degree complete, Ryan is ready to take charge of his own program.
He was recently hired as the head men's volleyball coach at Saint Xavier University in Chicago. The Cougars went 8-10 last season and were knocked out in the semifinals of the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Tournament.
Ryan is a Saint Xavier graduate who played one season for the Cougars, seeing acting in 21 matches during the 2012 season.
"Having played for this program, I'm immensely invested in its success and look forward to guiding it into a prominent future," Ryan said in a press release. "I'd like to thank (Saint Xavier athletic director Bob) Halberg for the confidence he's placed in me to lead this program."