Corey Lorenzen

Union boys basketball coach Corey Lorenzen walks players through half court drills during a recent practice. Lorenzen served as an assistant coach for the Knights the past three season before becoming the head coach this year.

Corey Lorenzen is no stranger to Union basketball. He’s been on the sideline for three years as an assistant, but his relationship with the athletes on the floor extends well beyond the last few seasons.

“I’ve coached some of these boys in baseball and basketball since third and grade,” Lorenzen said. “I joke that they’ve become sick of me over the years, but I love coaching them. They’re a great group and feel I’ve built a rapport with them.”

The Knights are only a week into practice for the upcoming 2021-22 season, yet a coaching change has not burdened the growth made from last season. Previous coach Dan Hensing resigned after the 2021 season and Lorenzen was able to work with the team over the summer, implementing his own philosophies. The style of play will change on both ends of the floor. Union wants to play more balanced offensively. One thing that hasn’t changed: the chance to improve from last year’s six wins, which was a step up from four years the year prior.

“They came into it ready to learn and with great attitudes,” Lorenzen said. “I believe they realize that they have an opportunity to have some success here that maybe we haven’t seen in a few years. Obviously there’s a lot to implement as a first-year head coach, but as the season goes along we will grasp this new system and see results.”

Senior guard TJ Freeland remembered Lorenzen saying it was his last year coaching the group after their fifth grade season. Not a chance, as he continued to come back “one way or another”, joking they’d “never get rid of him.”

“He knows me and my teammates,” Freeland said. “It’s about players first for him off and on the court. We’ve been putting together good teams with him for years. We’re all excited with what he’s shown us so far.”

The feeling is likewise, as Lorenzen knows his team is hungry to take the next step this season. While conference realignment has led to changes in the 2021-22 schedule, the Knights will face many of the same teams they have over the years. Their non-conference matches stay the same. Lorenzen’s mind isn’t focused on what changes, but rather what challenges lie ahead.

“At the end of the season, my hope is they had a great experience,” Lorenzen said. “We want to see everyone succeed this season. There’s a great foundation to be built by these seniors. There will be some growing pains in the beginning. Hopefully we come prepared each night and be the team I feel we can be.”

While his son, Ty, is a junior starter returning to the team, no one should expect special treatment. That’s how it’s been for year under Lorenzen’s guidance.

“We’re kinda all his kids at this point,” Freeland said. “We all like messing around with each other and having fun. But it’s also our senior year. We want to go out each night and compete. Everyone knows we’re capable of that.”

Union basketball will open their season November 30 at BCLUW.

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