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(Photo provided)

Derek Hinen drives to the basket against Ohio Mid-Western College Nov. 1. HU beat OMW 85-69. (Photo provided)

As the Foresters tip-off their season, sophomore guard Derek Hinen has quickly assumed a key leadership role on the men’s basketball team. After capturing a starting spot during his freshman year and contributing nearly 13 points per night, Hinen had already made a name for himself at HU as a consistent scorer prior to the season’s start.

Hinen’s successful role has not slowed, as he continues to produce results. Hinen led the Foresters in scoring in the team’s first four games of the 2014-2015 season. He’s also boosted his average to 19.8 points per game, showing improvement from his off-season efforts.

“Derek has a fantastic work ethic,” Coach Ty Platt said. “He is constantly working on his overall game.”

Hinen says he specifically focused on fine-tuning his pull-up jump shot in the offseason to prepare for the scoring role he would assume during his sophomore season.

“We [expect] Derek to have a tremendous sophomore season,” Platt said. “He will be a marked      man when on the court, but we are confident he can handle that role.”

Although the team relies on his scoring output, Hinen also plays an unselfish game, distributing 5.7 assists per contest. His humble mentality is made clear by his number-one individual goal for the season. He said he simply wants to “help put the team into positions to win games.”

Looking ahead, Hinen said he and his teammates want to return to Branson, Missouri, at the end of the season with a conference championship under their belt and a chance to vie for the national championship.

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