Point guard Josh Regal’s court smarts, versatility lead Muskies into NAC Tournament

Danny Spatchek, Managing Editor

After averaging nearly 16 points per game as a freshman, Josh Regal’s scoring has gone down. Not down by much—he’s scored about 13 points per game for the last two years—but down nonetheless.

Not that he’s concerned.

“I’m best at getting others involved in the game,” he said simply. “I’m better at making plays for others than I am for myself.”

His teammates aren’t likely to argue. This season Regal dished out 5.6 assists per game—good for second in the conference—and quarterbacked his Muskies to a third place finish in the Northern Athletics Conference (NAC) North. His pass-first mentality has helped bring balance to the team’s scoring column: seven Muskies scored at least five points per game this season and two in addition to Regal averaged over ten.

But Men’s Basketball Coach Aaron Aanonsen said his point guard has learned to do more than pass and score in his three years at Lakeland.

“Josh has done everything our team needs to be successful,” Aanonsen said. “Some games that’s being a distributor—playing defense and making sure that his teammates are all involved in the game. Other times it’s scoring and being more of a vocal leader or doing anything it takes to help his team win. I think that’s been the biggest change in Josh this year from years past.”

Regal’s versatility shows in the box score: out of the 13 statistical categories NAC basketball records, Regal finished inside the top 20 in nine of them this season. And even though his scoring average has dropped slightly during his college career, Regal still surpassed 1,000 points Feb. 9 in a 79-75 loss to the NAC’s top team, Concordia-Wisconsin.

Perhaps most impressive about Regal’s stats is the way he has had to get them. As a guard generously listed at 5’10’’, Regal still finds ways to be effective against taller opposing guards.

“I’ve been playing the game so long and I watch the game a lot and my knowledge of the game helps me figure out different angles to get by people. I use my quickness to just get by people and I use my defense to get into people and make them uncomfortable. So it [a height disadvantage] has a lot of disadvantages but it has a lot of advantages, too,” he said.

Despite his accomplishments, Regal said he would rather win as a team than individually.

“I don’t know if I would really call being all-conference a goal,” he said. “It just kind of comes. The more team success you have, the easier it is to get noticed to get those awards. If we keep winning games, those individual awards will come, I think. It’s not a huge goal of mine. I’d rather just work for the team and get a championship.”

Regal said the tough times the team went through in his freshman year prepared them to possibly “get a championship.”

“We went through a stretch where we lost ten games in a row. We lost to Maranatha Baptist within that ten-game stretch. They’re usually the bottom feeders of the conference. We were a really young team and there were times when we kind of felt like giving up, losing that many times in a row. But we came together and fought through it and now that we’ve all grown older and have been a part of the team for a while we’ve started to experience some success.”

Regal said results like the team had against Concordia-Wisconsin have made the team believe they can continue experiencing success.

“We have a good shot this year at making a run in the conference tournament. Concordia-Wisconsin’s the favorite. They’re undefeated. We took them down to the last shot [Feb. 9]. I think we’ve shown them we can play with anybody.”

And with Regal bringing the ball up, Aanonsen thinks so too.

“Overall Josh is going to go down as one of the best players to ever play at Lakeland College,” Aanonsen said. “He’s a coach’s son which means he’s lived the game for about 21 years now and it really shows because when he steps on the court and plays the game of basketball he plays the right way.”