Jeremy Pynn helping to lead Wolves den this basketball season

Grande Prairie resident and GPRC Wolves guard Jeremy Pynn shown here at an Oct. 1 practice at the GPRC gym. The guard will be part of the leadership group for the Wolves this season, joining Darian Goertzen and Joshua Burnstad in those roles

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When the GPRC Wolves men’s basketball team got around to the business of naming a leadership group, Head Coach Evan Lloyd put the club through an exercise in the democratic process, eventually arriving at three points of common ground.

The 15 players on the roster were asked to vote for players they believed would best exemplify the spirit of the Wolves with the characteristics revolving around—in general—a combo of academics, personality and ability.

The democratic process ensued and three names at the top of the list were Jeremy Pynn, Darian Goertzen and Joshua Burnstad.

“It’s as much their team as it is mine,” Lloyd said about allowing the team to vote for the group, though Lloyd acknowledged he had veto power in the end. “They all voted—made their top-five choices and a reason why. I tallied them up and those three guys were far above the rest. Pynn ended up getting a lot of first-place votes. He was, by far, the highest vote-getter.”

For the purposes of clarification, Pynn will be the focus of this story and focusing on the being in the leadership group was something the third year wanted to do.

And like all the qualities of a person in a leadership position they usually go well above and beyond what’s expected of them, doing just a little bit more because they want to, not because they have to.

“I kind of had an idea I was going to be the captain at the end of the summer, towards the beginning of the school year,” Pynn said. “Before Lloyd told me, I made an initiative to put myself in that position, above anything else. I tried to reach out to new recruits and get to know the guys joining the team, just to build the chemistry earlier than we have in the past, to put us a few steps ahead.”

“He leads by example and he’s got a good relationship with the guys,” Lloyd added when asked why Pynn was chosen by his peers. “He does what is asked of him, he’s an extremely hard worker and he’s always in the gym (working on his game). He’s good in school and holds our team standards and expectations and he tries to hold everyone accountable to those standards and that’s a big thing.”

Got game?

Internally Pynn probably knows he has to have game, as well. It’s tough being a leader when you’re sitting at the end of the bench next to the guys in street clothes. He’s earned respect from his teammates but he needs to be a guy hitting shots and playing important minutes, while playing well in those minutes. Playing well gives a player additional court cred.

The guard worked hard in preparation for this role and this is what he’s bringing, what everyone will witness when the season tips off Nov. 1 against the Concordia Thunder.

“Above anything, I want to facilitate and dictate the pace of the game,” Pynn said. “I believe that’s one of my strong suits. I want to get guys open looks but I want to be one of the main scoring options on this team. It’s something I’ve been working on in the off-season, to become more of a threat, opening up options for other guys on the court. I’m excited to be able to play and build with the guys this year.”

Experimentation expected

The GPRC Wolves men’s basketball team begins the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference pre-season with three games this weekend at the Prairie College Tournament in Three Hills.

The Wolves open up the tournament Friday night against the Ambrose College Lions, followed by a Saturday night game against the host Prairie College Pilots and finish up Sunday afternoon with the Olds College Broncos the final opponent.

Wolves Head Coach Evan Lloyd is going into the tourney with a sense of muted enthusiasm, but there appears to be small percentage of trepidation wrapped up in his enthusiasm for the pre-season, as he explains.

“My number thing is, I don’t want (any of) the guys to get hurt,” Lloyd said. “The season starts in two weeks. I want to see the guys play together, the chemistry between guys and what’s going to work on not going to work. I could really care less about wins and losses. It’s the pre-season and I want to make sure they’re healthy going through, getting a lot of reps and game experience, especially for a young team like this.”

Currently, Lloyd has eight players on the 15-man roster who are just out of high school.

Lloyd and his coaching staff have been working on a few line-ups in practice, trying to figure out combinations that can be successful for his players this season. He’ll employ some of those mad scientist type strategies starting Friday night at 6 p.m., among other experiments designed to maximize the abilities of his entire roster.

“I have a general idea who is going to go in and when,” Lloyd said. “The first game, I’ll try to treat it as regular rotations for the first quarter, or first half. After that, I will plug guys in here and there and try to keep them as healthy and fresh as possible. The guys kind of know their positions (as) we’ve tested a couple of different lineups, so we’ll try a couple of different things.”

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