By Garrett Krohne
For the third time since November, a Hornet is heading to college to play basketball. On Wednesday, Tristen Hercules joined the ranks of his former teammates Carson Parker and Terry Pelczynski as former Hornets to sign on to play collegiately. Hercules is taking his talents roughly thirty miles northeast to play for Head Coach Brian Hancock at Kaskaskia College.
Hercules’ enthusiasm for wanting to continue to play his beloved sport to go along with it being closer to home were one of the lead points as to why he’s now a Blue Devil.
“Just the local community, and I wanted to stay playing basketball. This was one of my top five options,” explained Hercules.
Coach Hancock explained how he was impressed with his consistency. “I’ve seen him play, it always seemed like he had a good motor, like he was always charged up and ready to play, so I’ve seen that pattern over and over, pretty much for the last two years,” said Coach Hancock.
Hercules, who was the starting point guard the last two seasons for Nashville, is most looking forward to playing in a fast pace environment as well as the new feature of playing with a shot clock. While he remains confident in his game, he is anticipating a few hurdles throughout his shift from Assembly Hall to Kaskaskia College Gymnasium.
“Learning to adapt to how big and advanced the players are, learning to finish, and just controlling the speed of the game,” said Hercules.
Nashville Hornet Head Coach Wayne Harre commended Hercules for his efforts throughout the last couple years. “They’re getting a true point guard. He knows a lot about the game, and what it means to be a point guard, distributing the ball, gets the ball to who he needs to get it to, and how to run the show. He’s been doing it out here for two years for us now, we’ve won a lot of games. He’s been in a lot of games.”
Coach Hancock explained the decision to pursue the Nashville speedster.
“For me, he’s a point guard that understands the offense, he has speed and quickness. He makes solid decisions. Something I look for in our conference is someone who can handle the pressure. We see a lot of zone pressures, just a solid IQ when he’s on the floor, he gets everyone involved,” Coach Hancock said.
Prior to the start of the 2019 season, the starting point guard spot was up in the air, but with his work ethic, Hercules bullied his way into the starting lineup and never gave his position up.
“When I came in that first year, we really didn’t have a point guard. We didn’t know how much he was going to play, but he busted his tail and made himself better. He got into the starting lineup and never came out, nobody took his spot. It tells you about how competitive he is, and he really made us better,” said Harre.
Hercules had several key moments for the Hornets over the past two seasons, some of those including making a near full court shot against Mater Dei in this past season’s NIT Championship game as well as being the starting point guard for a State-Runner Up Team.
“I think the biggest one was being the point guard and taking us to the State Tournament, that was pretty huge, and to hit that long shot against Mater Dei in the championship game to kind of spur us to victory, those are just a couple memories I remember” Harre said.
Although those might be some of his more flashy highlights, there is nothing like the thrill of beating your arch rival in blowout fashion.
“Definitely beating Pinckneyville at home. That was a big game for us. It set the temp for us the rest of the season,” recalled Hercules.
Not only did Hercules’ current and former coaches rave about his competitiveness and his ability to play his position, but also how he plays bigger than he is listed in the program. “The thing about him is he’s not going to be listed very tall, but he plays tall. He was our second or third leading rebounder last year. His hands are very strong, he will get a lot of loose balls. I think they’re getting a good player, an excellent individual, I think he’s going to be a big part of their success,” said Coach Harre. Coach Hancock continued, “It’s the individual person and the fight inside of them. He will bring a lot of that locker room stuff to our team that he picked up here (Nashville).”
Hercules has continued to workout this off season in Belleville with Jacob Tucker as well as Access in Nashville. He plans to major in Physical Therapy. He is the son of Kerry and Jill Hercules.