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Shanley graduate Strom helps lead St. John's into Division III tournament

Thursday, March 1, 2018   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Administration
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St. John's senior guard and Fargo Shanley graduate Patrick Strom is the Johnnies men's basketball record holder for career 3-pointers made. Jennifer McNelly / Saint John's University

 

COLLEGEVILLE, Minn.—When Patrick Strom was starting his men's basketball career at St. John's, the Fargo Shanley graduate had his uncertainty even though he was an all-state player for the Deacons.

"I came in very nervous about the basketball team," said Strom, now a senior guard for the Johnnies. "The game was so fast for me at the time. That first season it was all about settling into the speed of game."

It didn't take long for the sharpshooter to get up to speed, shooting 49 percent from 3-point range as a freshman. The 6-foot-2 Strom is the program's career record holder in 3-pointers made with 225.

"He's had a great career," St. John's head coach Pat McKenzie said. "He's just been a great presence for us from the second he came to school here. He sets the tone for what we do."

Strom will have a chance to add to his 3-point record at 7:30 p.m. Friday when the Johnnies host Bethany Lutheran College in the first round of the NCAA Division III tournament at Sexton Arena. The Johnnies (23-3) are hosting a four-team regional after winning the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference regular-season championship.

"It feels good to reach to the top of the league and have this opportunity," Strom said.

The Johnnies lost to Augsburg in the MIAC tournament semifinals, but nearly ran the table in the conference during the regular season with a 19-1 MIAC record.

"It's a testimony to our work ethic and our talent," Strom said. "It's not an easy thing to do."

The Johnnies are making their first national tournament appearance since 2006-07. Strom helped play a role in getting back to the Division III tournament, averaging 9.3 points per game while shooting 41 percent (65 of 157) from 3-point range through 26 games. Strom has 972 career points entering the Division III tournament.

"Even if he's not hitting shots, you have to guard him and you have to know where he is," McKenzie said.

Strom said the road from Fargo to Collegeville was a natural progression. His father, Jon Strom, is a 1988 St. John's graduate who played golf for the Johnnies. His mom, Theresa, is a 1988 St. Benedict graduate. Strom attended basketball camp at St. John's between his freshman and sophomore seasons at Shanley.

"I knew I was interested in the basketball program when I was a freshman in high school," Strom said. "It wasn't a very difficult decision for me."

Strom said sweeping rival and perennial MIAC power St. Thomas during the regular season was one of this season's highlights. He also got energized every time St. John's traveled to Moorhead to play Concordia during his career. Each time Strom played against the Cobbers at Memorial Auditorium, he usually had between 20 to 30 friends and family members in the crowd.

"Coming home and playing at Concordia is always a highlight," Strom said. "I've always had that one circled on my calendar."

Strom was a high school teammate of former Concordia point guard Dylan Alderman. The two remained good friends since high school.

"Whenever there is a big win, I always have a text on my phone from Dylan," said Strom, who is an accounting major.

McKenzie said Strom has developed into a more complete player since he started his career with the Johnnies.

"Each year we've seen him get better defensively," McKenzie said. "That's been a continued progression for him. He's always been able to shoot it."


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