Alex Herink leaves his mark on Raider basketball program
Alex Herink did it all during his Raider basketball career.
Score inside? Check. Defend the basket? Check. Handle the ball? Check.
This year the 6-foot, 6-inch senior added a steady perimeter game to his arsenal and helped lead the Raiders to a 14-10 record and a WIAA regional championship. He leaves Hudson as the school’s all-time leading scorer with 1,462 points, surpassing the mark of 1,442 set by 2005 HHS graduate Matt Miller.
Herink started all but three games during his Raider career. A three-time All-big Rivers Conference First Team selection, he was named to the All-Northwest Second Team as a sophomore and junior and earned All-Northwest First team and WBCA All-State honorable mention this year as a senior. He will attend Minnesota State University-Mankato on a basketball scholarship in the fall, after playing for the Division 1 North team at the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association All-Star Game in Wisconsin Dells June 21.
Among all the things Herink can do on a basketball court, tops on the list, according to Raider coach Jason Swavely, is his leadership.
“Alex is one of the most coachable players I have ever coached; that goes a long way in being a leader,” Swavely said. “He makes his teammates better. Even though he reached the scoring milestones he did this season, he would be the first to say he was able to accomplish it because of the teamwork within the team.
“As great as he is as a basketball player, he is an even better person. Alex always has a smile on his face that permeates those around him. He played with admirable poise and elevated himself as a vocal leader his senior season.”
Herink, who scored his 1,000th career point in the Raiders’ third game of the season Dec. 6 at Como Park, said his senior season was one of his favorites.
“It was a great group of guys and a lot of us are multi-sport athletes and spend a lot of time together,” he said. “We should have done better that we did but we had a good run.”
Swavely said Herink’s motor never stops on the court.
“He plays so hard,” the coach said. “He battled through tough calls, double and triple teams throughout his career. Every opponent is game-planning to stop Alex. He learned how to beat the defense on the inside and developed his game to the perimeter to complement his interior dominance. He was able to involve his teammates to a large extent and make the team better in the process. He was able to go to another level this season on both offense and defense.”
Herink’s scoring average increased every year from nine points as a freshman to 23 points his senior year. He said his work on his outside game helped make him a better-rounded player.
“I started as a post player and this this year I stepped outside, and I think I adapted to that very well,” he said. “ It was a little tough. I had always been a post player but I enjoyed being outside. It made me a better player and I liked it.”
Herink was also a member of the Raiders’ back-to-back BRC football championship teams, earning second team all-conference honors at wide receiver as a senior. While he played plenty of basketball outside of high school with Minnesota elite teams, he feels it was important for high school football to be part of his life.
“It was very important to me,” he said. “I think playing other sports helps you build different strengths. Football is a lot different than basketball but there are things you learn in football that help you in basketball. And being able to bond with your teammates is important, no matter the sport.”
Herink, who had offers from multiple colleges including South Dakota State and Minnesota-Duluth, said once he visited Mankato the decision on where to continue his basketball career was an easy one.
“When I went to visit Mankato I really liked it,” he said. “I like to be close to home and I really liked the coaches. They have a great basketball facility and the guys on the team were very nice.”
Swavely said as impressive as Herink’s high school career was, he thinks the senior’s best years of basketball are ahead of him.
“Alex has a fantastic work ethic and has the ability for limitless growth as a player,” the coach said. “It will be exciting to watch him play at the college level with other players like him. We hate to see Alex move on, but we all are looking forward to seeing him in a Mavs jersey next season.”