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Learning to Lead
Jordan Squiers
JMC 318
Photo by Krystal Nunnenkamp
Looking for the inside pass, Chris Deans takes a look at his options against Metro State on Saturday. The Lopers (10-13) took this one in a thrilling 82-78 win against the Roadrunners (18-5).

Injury challenges Deans as different kind of leader


When Chris Deans transferred to UNK from the University of Northern Colorado after his freshman year, he hoped to step into a role where he could contribute more to a basketball team.

During his first year with the Lopers, however, he went under the knife for a high school shoulder injury that he had never taken care of.

“It did leave me with a summer that I missed the chance to improve physically, but it gave me the opportunity to improve mentally,” he said.

The reparable shoulder injury, however, was minor compared to what Deans has been dealing with lately, a herniated disc in his lower back.

Deans said his back injury has taught him many things, including an appreciation for the times during which he is healthy.

He is also rising up to the opportunity it gave him to help his team off the court.

“My back has been an ongoing frustration that has challenged me to approach the game much differently than I ever have in my career,” he said. “While I’m limited in some ways physically, I have to admit to myself that there are times when I help my team most by encouraging from the sideline.”

Deans said he looks at leadership as a learning experience and pushes himself to work to improve his role on the team.  

Deans maintains a 3.92 grade point average and was recently named to the 2011 Capital One Academic All-District Team.

He is a pre-med student pursuing a major in biology and a minor in philosophy.  He admits he makes sacrifices to succeed academically while participating in basketball.  

The biggest challenge is to do quality work with limited time, he said.

“I was told a while ago that to be successful in college you can only put the majority of your time into two things— in my case that was athletics and school,” he said. “When you try to balance a booming social life, school and sports, it usually doesn’t work out.”

Deans has one year of basketball eligibility remaining. He plans to take the MCAT in May and hopes to be accepted to and attend medical school after next year.

He is originally from Hemingford,  but moved to Brighton, Colo., after his sophomore year of high school. He earned All-State and All-Conference honors at both schools.

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