MEN'S BASKETBALL: Meinders transfers to SMSUWORTHINGTON — The Southwest Minnesota State University men’s basketball team is getting another former Worthington High School standout. Travis Meinders, a 2010 WHS graduate, is transferring to SMSU after two years with the Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks.
By: Aaron Hagen, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — The Southwest Minnesota State University men’s basketball team is getting another former Worthington High School standout.
Travis Meinders, a 2010 WHS graduate, is transferring to SMSU after two years with the Minnesota State University-Mankato Mavericks.
“Things weren’t just really going the way I planned,” Meinders said. “I just wasn’t feeling comfortable up there. Even last year when I was starting, things didn’t feel right. I didn’t really fit the system. I couldn’t play comfortably.”
Now, Meinders is able to reunite with former WHS teammate — and current Mustang — Mitchael Weg.
“I just thought the best thing for me to do was to transfer and move on to a different school and somewhere that had recruited me out of high school and SMSU recruited me pretty heavily out of high school,” Meinders said. “Another big benefit is a former teammate Mitch Weg is there and I think it will be fun to play with him again.”
The two enjoyed two years of success as Trojans before Meinders graduated.
“We already have chemistry,” Meinders said. “We’ve played together for two years already. It’s a great opportunity, I think, for us to reunite and play together. It’s going to be fun, I think.”
Weg, who is redshirting this season with SMSU, is excited to be on the same team with Meinders.
“I couldn’t be more excited,” Weg said. “We were best friends in high school and we still hang out all the time in the summer and on weekends when we get back. I’m just excited, not just because he’s a great player, but to have another friend on the team, that will be cool.”
As a sophomore Meinders played in all 26 games, starting 22 of those for the Mavericks. He averaged 6.2 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
In high school, Meinders scored 1,418 career points and averaged 23.5 in his senior season. In that season — the last he and Weg played together — the Trojans were 19-5 and won the Southwest Conference championship.
“I think we just want to come in and work as hard as we can and hopefully keep the tradition going of being a winning team and doing the right way,” Weg said. “It’s what they’ve been doing here for a while, it’s almost just to keep that going. And to have two Worthington guys, we can represent our hometown at the same time.”
Meinders decided to transfer before he played a game this year, allowing him to redshirt and have two more seasons of eligibility. Once he got his release form, he was free to find a new school.
“I explored my options and I took about a week to go on about five visits,” Meinders said. “I talked it over with my parents and came to the conclusion that SMSU was where I should be. (SMSU head coach) Brad Bigler did a great job of talking to me and talking things out and he made it feel like I made the right decision.”
Meinders made a list of schools he was interested in once he was granted his release. Dakota State University, Dakota Wesleyan, Dordt, Augustana and the University of Sioux Falls were some of the schools on his list.
“To be honest, it was probably more fun than it was out of high school because I’ve gotten a lot more exposure and being a starter at Mankato last year and teams have asked for film and seen me play,” Meinders said. “The schools in my conference have seen me play and schools were trying to take the opportunity to recruit me and it was a lot of fun. It was stressful at the same time, though.”
But things were different this time around.
“For one thing, before I was looking at a school I was going to go play for four years and now I’m looking at schools where I’m going to look at being at for two years,” Meinders said. “Part of it came down to academics. I just felt like SMSU being a part of the MnSCU system, too, all my credits will transfer no problem. I’m going to be there for five years because I’m redshirting this year, so I’ll get my degree pretty easily.”
Meinders is majoring in biology and carries a 3.5 GPA. His plan is to go to pharmacy school.
But on the hardwood, there are still things to sort out. The first is when he’ll be eligible to play.
“The NCAA and our conference has a rule that you have to sit out a full year,” he said. “But since I took my redshirt before I played any games, we have an appeal process underway right now to see if I could be able to play right away next fall or if I’m going to have to wait until after the first semester.”
But when Weg and Meinders take the floor together, the two have chemistry.
“I love playing with Travis,” Weg said. “We had a good team (in high school) and hopefully we can keep that going and maybe get a few more Worthington fans to come up to some games, which would be nice.”
Daily Globe Community Content Coordinator Aaron Hagen may be reached at 376-7323.