Athletics & Recreation

At 21, DU’s oldest player leads nation’s youngest team

You could say Nate Rohnert is a junior and a senior.

At the ripe old age of 21, Rohnert is the oldest player on the Pioneers‘ basketball team — clearly senior status. Academically, he’s a junior, one of only two on the team, which has no seniors.

That makes the squad the youngest college team in the entire country. The average player age: just 18.9 years old.

“It’s definitely a unique situation,” says Rohnert, the team’s captain. “Because we’re so young, I think coach [Joe] Scott instilled a lot of trust in me to bring the younger guys along and show them what Denver basketball is all about.”

Scott, the team’s head coach, says he’s pleased with Rohnert’s development. “He’s done a good job, and he’s gotten better and better.”

Others, too, are noticing Rohnert’s improvement. He took home Sun Belt Player of the Week honors last week when the Pioneers beat the defending conference tournament champs, Western Kentucky. Rohnert is the first Pioneers basketball player to earn the award since Yemi Nicholson took the award four times in the 2005 – 06 season.

In the Western Kentucky game, Rohnert stole the ball four times in the second half, and with 13 seconds left insured the win with a lay-up.

Rohnert calls the recognition “a great honor” but mainly because he says the team got the win. “Coach Scott says team success always comes first, and I truly believe that. That’s why my focus is on doing whatever the team needs me to do to win.”

He’s doing his part. He’s started every game since last season kicked off, and he’s averaging 37 minutes a game this season (the most of any player in the Sun Belt). “I’ve played pretty much every position this year, and coach has placed a lot of responsibility on me to do a lot of different things. I will continue to do whatever the team needs me to do.”

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