NEWS & EVENTS
Dordt College News
Katje Leaves Mark Shooting
March 7, 2014
This article originally appeared in the February 28 Dordt Diamond. Read more Diamond stories at www.dordtdiamond.wordpress.com
By: Sam Ekstrom, Dordt College Sports Information Student Assistant
There is plenty of change that occurs in this world, but also a few things that remain the same: the moon waxes and wanes, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west and Austin Katje hits 3-point shots.
The Dordt College senior will graduate as one of the top long-distance shooters in school history and a 1,000-point scorer.
“Austin has been a perimeter threat since Day 1, and that’s still his biggest asset,” said head coach Ross Douma.
Ironically, Katje didn’t start out as a perimeter player.
“Growing up, I was kind of a post player,” said Katje, “but I stopped growing in about eighth grade, so since then I’ve really been focused on jump shooting.”
The Dordt coaching staff knew Katje, the Orange City, Iowa native, would help the Defenders’ jump shooting, and they inserted him into the lineup as a freshman.
Katje started all 31 games his first season and made 65 3-point shots, shooting at over 40.1 percent from beyond the arc. The 22 year old explained how his freshman season set the tone for the next three years.
“That experience of playing heavy minutes and knowing what to expect and knowing how your body’s going to feel throughout a long season is really big,” said Katje.
Since Katje’s freshman season, the Defenders have done nothing but win. Katje’s teams have appeared in the conference title game each of his first three seasons, reached the national Elite Eight the past two years and only lost six total games at home.
Katje has played a big role the entire way, making over 250 3’s in his career, breaking the record of former point guard Cliff Warner. He credits hours of work in the gym, as well as shooting up to 700 shots per day in the summers.
Douma has witnessed Katje’s drive and determination firsthand.
“Austin is a more fiery, vocal leader who is just a gritty, follow-me type competitor,” said Douma. “He is going to do it regardless of what it takes.”
Earlier this season, Katje showed his grittiness by carrying the Defenders with 33 points en route to a road victory over no. 13 Hastings College.
As a junior, Katje was the source of the season’s most dramatic moment. Trailing by three with just seconds remaining in the Defenders’ national quarterfinal against Cardinal Stritch University (Wisc.), Katje hit the game-tying 3-point shot to send the game to overtime.
“That was definitely one of the most exciting moments of my basketball career,” said Katje. “That was just cool to be a part of that.”
Entering the current season, Katje and fellow senior Kyle Lindbergh were called upon to nurture a young team with eight freshmen on its roster.
Freshman Alex Terpstra has been one of the recipients of Katje’s veteran leadership.
“Many of times Austin has pulled me aside and either told me what I needed to improve on or showed me the correct technique,” said Terpstra.
From a numbers standpoint, Katje has delivered his finest season. The senior is averaging over 15 points per game while shooting 87 percent from the free-throw line and a team-leading 46 percent from 3-point range.
But there’s one thing Katje is aiming for that nobody has ever accomplished: to be a part of the first GPAC team to win both the regular season title and postseason title in the same season.
“No team has ever been able to do that,” said Katje. “It’s something that Kyle [Lindbergh] and I would definitely like to do – kind of stamp our seal onto Dordt basketball, to be able to be the first team that’s ever done that.”