Patience, trust paves way for Kuiper to enjoy career night

January 24, 2016

Dane Kuiper basketball

Dane Kuiper

For more than two months, Dane Kuiper of Wasilla has paid his dues as a freshman by staying seated on the bench for the University of New Mexico.

On Saturday night he finally got his shot to shine.

And his future looks brighter than expected.

The highly touted 6-foot-7 forward saw his first significant playing time and delivered 11 points, four rebounds, four assists, two blocks and a steal in an 83-64 road win at San Jose State.

Kuiper, of Wasilla High fame, came off the bench to log a season-high 28 minutes in addition to logging season highs for basically every category.

“For anybody, it’s pretty hard not to play. But at the same time, you have to know it’s for a reason,” Kuiper told reporters. “You either have to start practicing harder or do the little things to get your [playing] time.”

Kuiper left Alaska after his sophomore year and transferred to helped guide Tempe Corona del Sol to a pair of state championships in Arizona, where he was rated as that state’s top player for the 2015 recruiting class.

He had scored a total of seven points and played double-digit minutes only once in the first 11 games.

He didn’t pout, he put in work.

“I trust in coach and he trusts me,” Kuiper said. “I just had to stick with the process and keep practicing hard and earn my spot so when I get my opportunity, I’d make it count.”