Local basketball standouts hone skills during pandemic with open gyms at local church

Some of the top players from the Lincoln area have met at the church every Monday and Friday afternoon this summer to help hone their skills for their respective seasons. And with the coronavirus pandemic taking away most gyms, this opportunity was needed more than ever. 
High School Basketball Open Gym

LINCOLN – What do you get when a Jackrabbit, a Kangaroo and a Cowboy walk into a gym?

Well, at Cross The Line church in Lincoln, you get some really good basketball.

Some of the top players from the Lincoln area have met at the church every Monday and Friday afternoon this summer to help hone their skills for their respective seasons. And with the coronavirus pandemic taking away most gyms, this opportunity was needed more than ever.

“A lot of college guys that are coming back have no where to workout,” said North Star graduate and Oklahoma State signee Donovan Williams. “They can’t workout on campus when they’re at home. Most guys are just sitting around because there’s no where to workout. Luckily, we have this church. we have the keys. So we’re blessed to have this place.”

Williams and his step dad have been coming to the church to play for years. And when everything happened with the pandemic, Williams reached out to other star players from around the area.

“Actually getting to play competitive games, not just ball handling or shooting, but actual games, that’s been helpful as well,” said Josiah Allick, a former North Star standout who’s now a sophomore forward at UMKC.

Allick is one of many former and current standout high school basketball players who frequently attend the workouts. Former teammate and current North Star senior Kwat Abdelkarim has also been playing with Williams for years. He says, the competition has definitely ramped up this summer.

“I think everyone here is really good, obviously, or they wouldn’t be in here,” Abdelkarim said. “I think everybody pushes each other. We all work on things that we need to work on. Again, that’s high competition.”

That competition includes former Pius X star and Husker Charlie Easley, who’s transferring from Nebraska to South Dakota State this fall. Tristan Simpson, another former North Star guard and South Dakota Coyote, is also a frequent player.

It’s also been a top destination for current high school players as well. Along with Abdelkarim, Grand Island’s Isaac Traudt and Ashland-Greenwood’s Cale Jacobsen make the trip to Lincoln at least once a week. Traudt has received a multitude of offers from Division-I schools, while Jacobsen is one of the state’s top returning scorers.

“I’ve been coming up here quite a bit, so playing against guys that are playing Class A ball and playing in college, it’s been really good for me,” Jacobsen said. “I feel like I’ve been able to grow. Learning what works, what doesn’t work kind of.”

Categories: High School Sports, Sports