Soukups’ journey leads them to Iowa Wesleyan
BY ANNA ZANDER
Iowa Wesleyan University
The Soukups’ journey began as standouts on the boys’ basketball team at Danville High School. At the end of their four-year career, they held a 103-5 overall record and played on three teams that made it to the State Tournament.
Both Steven and Michael made their way into the record books at Danville and in the State of Iowa, but even with all of their accolades, they did not receive Division I offers out of high school.
After graduating from Danville, Steven and Michael spent two years at Southeastern Community College with the hopes of getting an NCAA Division I offer after completing their degrees there. When asked why they chose to go to SCC out of high school, Steven said “We wanted to go Division I and we had a familiarity with the school. We also wanted to be able to play close to home and Southeastern offered us a chance for both.”
After two years at SCC, the Soukups’ were able to live out their dream of playing at a Division I school by walking on at the University of Iowa. They were both members of the men’s basketball team and played in several games for the Hawkeyes.
After being in the starting rotation at Danville and Southeastern, the Soukups’ wanted to make a larger impact for a team. They decided to leave the University of Iowa and began searching for somewhere to finish their senior season. Iowa Wesleyan became their focus.
“We were drawn to Iowa Wesleyan because it was somewhere smaller and it was close to home. We also felt we could make a larger impact on the basketball court if we came here,” said Michael on what drew them to IW.
The Soukups’ are hoping to provide senior leadership. The men’s basketball team currently has three other seniors, a handful of juniors, and the rest are freshmen or sophomores. With three years of collegiate basketball under their belts, Steven and Michael will help add experience and leadership to the younger players.
Michael stated, “We want to help the younger guys develop and provide help in any way possible.” Head coach Alex Huisman is excited for what the Soukups’ bring to the team.
Huisman expressed, “There is not enough time to mention all of the positive influences Michael and Steven will have on our program. They exhibit all the qualities we look for in student-athletes, especially at the Division III level. As much attention as they’ve received during their basketball careers, they remain humble and everything is about the team first. Michael and Steven are great examples of what we want this program to be built on.”
Another big factor that brought the Soukups’ to Iowa Wesleyan was the ability to play together in the final season. Steven said “Not many schools were able to give scholarships to two people playing the same position.
Coach Huisman was accepting of both of us coming to play together and it has made it easier for our parents. It means a lot to be able to play our final season so close to home. There is a great opportunity for friends and family to come watch games.” Coach Huisman also sees the benefits of having local talent on his rosters. He states, “From a basketball standpoint, we should see an increase from our already amazing attendance at homes games. People who have watched them play during their time at Danville High School and Southeastern Community College will want to come watch them, as well as other regional students on our roster. A majority of our roster is made of kids from southeastern and central Iowa, as well as northeastern Missouri.”
Although the opportunity to play basketball at Iowa Wesleyan was a big factor in why Steven and Michael decided to attend Iowa Wesleyan for their senior year, there were several aspects about the University itself that drew them here.
“Iowa Wesleyan had a lot to offer through internship opportunities and practical experiences. The class sizes are small and it really lets you interact with professors and have one on one time with them,” Steven mentioned.
Both Michael and Steven are planning on entering the accounting field after graduating and the internship opportunities that Iowa Wesleyan offers can help them gain experience in the field. They would also both like to get into coaching at some point down the road.
When asked about the transition from the University of Iowa to Iowa Wesleyan, Steven said, “It’s obviously been two very different experiences. We were used to the small environment with our hometown and Southeastern, so it’s been a very easy transition even though it was a large switch.”
The Soukup’s join their teammates in action for their home opener on November 15, 2016 at 8 p.m. in Ruble Arena.