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St. Francis point guard basks in buzz of 10-0 start

01/08/2013, 4:37pm CST
By Star Tribune

Cody Wald

Point guard Cody Wald played in every St. Francis boys' basketball game as a freshman and started every game as sophomore.

He walked off the court victorious just 14 times during that span.

So if anyone is basking in the Saints' surprise 10-0 start this season, it's Wald. But he has company.

"We've never had this much buzz around the school," Wald said. "It feels much better than not winning. We're finally going into a gym expecting to win; sometimes that's not always a good thing."

Confidence with a dash of humility has a talented St. Francis team reaching for new heights while staying grounded. Wald, who averages 8.1 points per game, is one of six Saints averaging between six and 18 points per game.

"These are high-character kids," coach Ryan Hauge said. "There is no complaining about playing time or shots. Everyone just wants to win."

St. Francis played Totino-Grace on Tuesday after this edition went to press. Wald spoke with Star Tribune reporter David La Vaque about the season's strong start and Thursday's showdown with Robbinsdale Cooper and standout Rashad Vaughn.

Q What has allowed St. Francis to win 10 games already when it won a total of 14 the past two seasons?

A The main thing would be the off-season preparation. ... Also, we have a much different chemistry this year. We're closer because we've grown up together and we know how each other plays.

Q What about on the court? What are some of the things this team has done well?

A Everybody has the green light to shoot. It's not just one player that's getting the ball every time. [Leading scorer] Jake Johnson is a great player and he's our go-to guy but everybody will shoot the ball when they're open this year.

Q Speaking of Jake, Coach Hauge said he is 6-foot-8, can dunk, break other teams' presses and shoot the three. Where does he rank in terms of the guys you've played with?

A He's probably one of the most exciting and unpredictable guys I've ever played with. He's big but he can do it all. I've never gotten to play with a guy like that before.

Q Coach Hauge said your 58-57 victory against Fridley [Jan. 4] was important because it forced you guys to kind of sweat it out until the end. He said you hit a couple clutch free-throws late in the game. How were you feeling in that moment?

A I was a little bit nervous because I was struggling that game to find my shot. But I knew that was a chance I had been waiting for. So I was excited to knock them down.

Q Talk about the game with Robbinsdale Cooper. They have played a tremendous schedule and they are led by Rashad Vaughn. What are you thinking about in terms of this matchup?

A Huge game for us. People see our 10-0 record but then they look at our schedule and see we haven't played anybody like Hopkins, Osseo or Apple Valley. So this will be an eye-opener for other people if we're able to pull it off.

Q It's your first home game in about a month. What is the buzz around school?

A We have good fans and a lot of them even come to our away games. A lot of people are jumping on the bandwagon now that we're 10-0, and they are ready to see us play a good team.

David La Vaque • 612-673-7574

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