Will Opsahl will follow family tradition of playing men's college basketball

Will Opsahl will follow family tradition of playing men’s college basketball

Oct. 7—GOODHUE — Goodhue senior Will Opsahl definitely wanted to continue the family tradition of playing men’s college basketball. And now he’s going to get that opportunity.

The 6-foot-7 guard recently announced his commitment to play college basketball at Division II Minnesota State, Mankato.

“I’m super excited about that and the next step for me,” Opsahl said.

His father, Mark, played Division III basketball at Hamline University. His brother, Ben, played at Rochester Community and Technical College. So from a young age, playing college ball was Will Opsahl’s goal.

“It was definitely something I wanted to strive for,” he said. “Watching my brother play basketball, watching my sister (Kate), it’s definitely something I wanted to do from a young age. Basketball’s always been my favorite sport.”

Opsahl said his father and brother were driving forces in his life that helped push him to succeed in sports.

“Especially my dad,” Opsahl said. “My dad’s played a huge part in my basketball career and my life. He’s always been there for me and been a great mentor for me as a coach and a trainer.”

Mark Opsahl coached his younger son at the youth level and is now an assistant coach at Goodhue High School.

Opsahl had offers from four universities in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. He really liked the facilities, coaching staff and the academic possibilities at Minnesota State. Relationships with the coaches at Minnesota State was his top reason for choosing the Mavericks. But it was also appealing being about an hour and a half from home so his friends and family will be able to watch him play.

“Being able to have friends and family (watch), that’s big for me just to have that support,” Opsahl said. “The location is definitely a fit and played a factor in my recruiting and decision-making process.”

Goodhue head coach Matt Halverson said that on the court, Opsahl is “dynamic” with his defensive ability to guard both big and smaller players and his strong overall offensive game. His size helps him create mismatches against smaller guards.

“He’s 6-foot-7 and yet has point-guard ability,” Halverson said. “He will play point guard for us and then he can also go down in the post.”

“I think one of the better parts of my game is my passing and getting other teammates involved,” Opsahl said. “I love passing just as much as I like getting a bucket.”

Opsahl hopes to use his size and vision to his advantage as he transitions into college basketball. Halverson likes the odds of that happening.

“Basketball wise, he’s just got an extremely high IQ,” Halverson said. “He’s a very talented passer and sees the floor. That’s one reason we had to keep him at point guard, because his vision is so good.”

Opsahl is the youngest person in his class at Goodhue. He just turned 17 in August. He carries just 170 pounds on his long and lanky frame, but should have plenty of opportunity to fill out and get stronger, which is his goal as he reaches the college level.

Opsahl takes pride in being a multi-sport athlete at Goodhue. He is in his third year as the Wildcats’ starting quarterback this football season and also plays golf.

“Being the quarterback, it helps me see the field just like it helps me see the court,” he said. “And just having chemistry with my teammates.

This fall, Opsahl’s top receiver in football is Adam Poncelet. When basketball season rolls around, Opsahl and Poncelet will both be starting for a fourth season in basketball and they will be captains for a third year.

“He’s very skilled,” Poncelet said. “He’s a great passer and leader for the team.”

“I would say being a leader along with my passing is definitely up there with my strengths in the game,” Opsahl said. “I like to be a good role model for the underclassmen and younger guys. I always try to lead by example and just try to be the best teammate I can.”

Aside from passing, Opsahl is also an elite scorer with the ability to put the ball in the basket from the inside or outside. He will enter his senior season with 997 points and his goal is to finish as the Wildcats’ all-time leading scorer.

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