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Seniors play big on, off hardwood
Craig Hall
Antelope Staff
Photo courtesy Lopers.com
Josiah Parker and Kim Thissen

They say in sports that size can’t be coached. In some cases you come across those certain athletes who are big on the inside, who have the “it” factor needed to excel.  Rarely do you get an athlete who has both of these traits. That’s not the case for the UNK men’s and women’s basketball teams.

Each team features one senior who generates a strong presence both on and off the court. These seniors are men’s center Josiah Parker and women’s forward Kim Thissen. Both are at the top of several statistical categories in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference:  rebounding, field goal percentage and blocks. 

Through 14 games Parker is leading the RMAC with 46 blocks, an incredible number. “His presence in the middle is going to be missed. He has given us a way to score close to the basket because he is a true post player,” said men’s co-head coach Kevin Lofton. Lofton also noted Parker’s willingness to be a leader for the team and said his effort in the weight room is a major credit to Parker’s work ethic over his four-year stint here at UNK. Another credit to Parker’s work ethic: he was recently named the RMAC Men’s Basketball Academic Player of the Year.

Thissen has also made a huge impact in her short stint at UNK. She attended Des Moines Area Community College before arriving in Kearney. Thissen ranks sixth in the RMAC sporting a .488 shooting percentage. Her biggest impact comes off the court, women’s coach Carol Russell said. “Kim brings the intangibles to our team and does a great job leading by example.” Thissen’s ability to be a leader and role model is a major reason for her success at UNK.

UNK has produced several memories for these two athletes that each will not forget. “I won’t forget the game (against Mesa State) where my family was in the stands for our team’s victory earlier this year,” Thissen said.

Parker takes away the experience of advancing to an NCAA Regional as a freshman.

Both are expected to play big toward the success of the basketball teams this season.

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