Egolf never loses sight of the 907 (Basketball)

August 3, 2010
Bradley Braves

Alaska might be in his rearview mirror, but home is never out of sight for Will Egolf of Haines.

The Bradley University basketball player loves to get back to his roots in Southeast Alaska, splitting time between his hometown and the state capital, where he was a high school star at Juneau-Douglas.

“Seeing my parents is obviously most important and they live and own businesses in Haines,” he told me, “but all my friends and teammates are in Juneau, which is just a 30-minute flight that I make on the weekends.”

In Haines, a town of about 2,500 locals, he is surrounded by his most loyal fans.

“It’s one of the most supportive and family-like communities I have ever witnessed or been a part of,” he said.

Egolf may be a small-town guy, but he’s got big-time game.

The 6-foot-9 forward is a promising post player entering his junior season with the NCAA Division I Braves of the Missouri Valley Conference. Coming off an injury, he bounced back to start 30 of 31 games and average 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in 16.1 minutes per game.

Much of the credit for his success goes to Egolf himself and the Bradley coaching staff, with former NBA player Mark McNamara getting an assist as well. McNamara, a family friend, lives in Haines and the two big men get in the gym whenever Egolf is in town.

“He has been a major factor in my success here at Bradley,” Egolf said. “He has been recognized as one of the best fundamental big man coaches in the country and has worked with and played alongside some of the best players in the world.”

The 6-foot-11 McNamara was a first-round draft pick in 1982 and played in 278 career games in eight NBA seasons.

The friendship dates back to Egolf’s high school days.

“Mark basically opened my eyes to what it takes to become a great player,” he said. “It started with him editing my games at JDHS and tearing me apart in every aspect of basketball. Every week we would work on an area that I needed to develop.

“He has taught me more fundamentals and footwork techniques than I can even remember and during my summer AAU basketball career he managed all the communication between coaches and me to help me make the best decision for me and my family.”

Gotta love getting advice from a former NBA guy?

“Mark is an amazing person and has played and dominated at every single level of basketball,” Egolf said. “I go to him for all kinds of advice from school to basketball to girls.”

After spending four weeks in Alaska, Egolf headed back to campus for classes and conditioning.

“During the summer we have a very organized workout routine that we do during the week. An average day is made up of two hours of class, two hours of open gym, one hour of lifting, and two to three hours of shooting, post development and or individual workouts,” he said.

“The primary focus during our summer is gaining weight and getting stronger. Every Friday we have to weigh-in with our strength coach and be at least a pound heavier then we were the week before. On top of that every month we are tested in quickness, vertical, bench press and sprint, and we are expected to show gains in every area from month to month.”

He’s hoping his hard work pays dividends on the court.

“My game is primarily based on my athleticism and quickness at the forward position,” Egolf said. “We have a very fast, up and down style offense at Bradley and as a big man we focus on beating our man down the floor every time to get easy rim run layups.

“My game is made up of midrange moves taking my man off the dribble and finishing above the rim, I am currently working on developing my footwork down low so I can open up my game inside a little more this year.”

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