Patrick Reusse: Center 'run off' by coach a coup for St. Thomas

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 22, 2007 - 10:27 PM

A 23-minute freshman year at Bowling Green led to Isaac Rosefelt's return to St. Paul -- and a stellar career with the Tommies.

Isaac Rosefelt was entering his senior year at St. Thomas Academy in the fall of 2002. Several mid-majors were interested in giving him a scholarship. He signed with Bowling Green in November.

"I liked what the school had to offer, liked the campus and liked the players," Rosefelt said. "And, at the time, I liked the coaching staff."

Dan Dakich, a former Indiana player for Bobby Knight, was -- and remains -- the Bowling Green coach. Rosefelt was 6-9 and weighed only 190 pounds out of high school.

His rail-thin body meant that Rosefelt would have to play small forward in the Mid-American Conference. "I probably should've been a 3, but I had played inside my whole life," he said. "I had an inside game."

Apparently, Dakich decided early that Rosefelt was not going to help the Falcons. He didn't bother to assign Rosefelt a redshirt and send him to the weight room for a year.

"I played as a freshman," Rosefelt said. "A total of 23 minutes."

The Falcons were doing postseason NCAA-approved "small group workouts."

That's when Dakich decided to run off Rosefelt. Literally. While other underclassmen were in the gym working out, Rosefelt was assigned to run and up down a nearby hill.

"Actually, I'm grateful for what happened at Bowling Green, because that's what got me here," Rosefelt said. "I've had three years at an outstanding school -- great people on campus, tremendous teammates."

Rosefelt was talking about the University of St. Thomas. He knew when he came home to St. Paul in the spring of 2004 that he would not be returning to Bowling Green.

"I thought about playing D-II at Concordia, since the campus is a five-minute walk from my family's home in St. Paul," Rosefelt said. "I decided the academics fit me better at St. Thomas."

Academics! When did that have anything to do with college basketball, Isaac?

"In Division III," he said. "I'm going to get a degree in criminal justice this spring. I'd like to play basketball in Europe for a couple of years, but the plan after that is law school."

Rosefelt arrived at St. Thomas in the fall of 2004. Another sophomore, Bryan Schnettler, came in as a transfer from Wisconsin-Superior. A year later, junior Mike Keating showed up from St. Michael's, a Division II school in Vermont.

The Tommies are 61-17 since Rosefelt moved into the lineup. They are 23-3 this season, with Rosefelt, Schnettler, Keating and point guard Andy Dwyer as senior starters.

Last weekend, the Tommies won the MIAC title at 18-2 with a 74-59 victory over St. John's. The teams will play again Saturday night for the MIAC tournament title.

"My whole life, basketball had been fun for me," he said. "After Bowling Green, I didn't know if that would happen again. But it has. Once I stepped in the gym here, it was fun again."

Rosefelt was a fifth-grader when he first came to St. Thomas for Johnny Tauer's basketball camp. Tauer is the No. 1 assistant for Tommies coach Steve Fritz.


    St. John's at St. Thomas

    7:30 p.m. Saturday. Tickets for the game are on sale now; check for availability.

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