Terry basketball had an international flair

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
Terry basketball had an international flair

With four foreign-born players, the Terriers surprisingly did not have major language barriers, since all players spoke good English. PHOTOS BY DAWN OLSON

Terry basketball had an international flair

The Terriers had a successful 2019- 2020 campaign, finishing in the top four of the Southern 4C district tournament and making it to the Southern C divisional tournament.

The Terry High School Terriers boy’s basketball team faced its ups and downs throughout the 2019-20 season, ultimately placing in the top-four of the Southern 4C district basketball tournament and making it into the Southern C divisional basketball tournament.

The teams chemistry was clear for all to see, and one would think that the roster of young men on the court had years of experience playing together. The fact though is that the Terriers were a young team, and unique in the fact that four of their players were foreign exchange students, with two of those having no basketball experience prior to coming to Terry.

Those foreign exchange student athletes were senior Chris Badac (Slovakia), junior Victor Salas Gomez (Spain), junior Jonas Wind (Germany), and sophomore Yerke Kussym (Kazahstan).

Badac, a 6-foot, 3-inch guard, was one of the teams top performers through out the season, having perhaps his biggest impact for the team during their district and divisional tournament runs.

One possible hurdle that teams can face when introducing players that speak different languages is a possible language barrier amongst the players. According to Terriers head coach Chay Larson, that wasn’t a problem for his team.

“I believe I lucked out, because they all spoke English really well,” Larson said. “Also, two of the players have basketball experience from their home countries, while the other two had never played before. They picked it up really quickly though.”

Larson explained that if there ever was a moment where the coaches and players were having trouble communicating something they would stop and make sure they were clear on what was being said.

“From the first day of practice to the last game they clicked as a team,” Larson said. “Our main cheer was ‘Family’ because we played as one. For players never playing together they looked like they have been playing for years together on the court. They were able to read each other.”

According to Larson, the exchange students come over through three different programs; ASSE, FLEX, and ISE. Some of the students came over via scholarships and others were responsible for paying their own way over.

“The host families for the students got a list of students that wanted to come over and they got to go through them and find one that they believed would do well in our small community,” Larson said.

The lineup of Kussym, Wind, Badac, and Salas Gomez were joined by Terry local junior Colton Braddock for the last two minutes of the teams’ final basketball game of the season.