In another reminder of how Division III sports are different from the pro and major college world, the Star Tribune’s Michael Rand caught up with University of St. Thomas senior guard Will DeBerg on Wednesday while he and his teammates were on a layover in Chicago on the way to Salem, Va., for Friday’s 11 a.m. NCAA quarterfinal game against Williams (Mass.).
Q What are some overall keys for your team, which has only lost once and is ranked No. 1 in the country?
A Our depth is huge. We play 10 or 11 guys, and we do a good job wearing a lot of teams out. And our experience is key. We have seven guys who were on the team that won a national championship two years ago. And we only graduated one senior from last year’s team. ... Winning it one time makes us that much hungrier to it all again.
Q The NCAA is doing things differently with title games in all divisions in Atlanta this year. Does that add an extra incentive?
A It would be cool just to be down there with Division I and II, but we’re not focused on that a whole lot. We’re just trying to win two games this weekend. But it would be pretty fun.
Q Maybe it could be all Minnesota teams?
A We’ll see about that [laughs]. Winona State is in the quarterfinals in Division II. You never know with the Gophers.
Q You are No. 1 in the nation. Does that add any extra pressure?
A That’s not something we necessarily think about. But we realize other teams see that, and we know we’re going to get every team’s best shot.
Q You’ve made 130 three-pointers the past two seasons. How are you consistent from that range?
A The big thing is getting shots in the gym as much as I can. ... And I try to simulate game shots. Anyone can walk in the gym and shoot, but I work on shooting with a quick release, running, coming off screens, off the dribble, stuff like that.