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Hanstad played four years at Boise State University. Photo courtesy of Boise State Univ. athletics
Dickinson's Joe Hanstad was a handful of games into his senior season and appeared well on his way to becoming the all-time scoring leader for Class A basketball.
And then fate moved its giant hand.
Hanstad was injured going for rebound in a home game against rival Bismarck High. He fell hard after getting undercut on the play. He finished the contest, but it was clear something wasn't right. A trip to the doctor would reveal a fractured right wrist. The injury, subsequent surgery and necessary recovery time sidelined him.
Remarkably, Hanstad was able to return to the court that season. And despite not being healthy and missing several games, he showcased his basketball skills again, playing in the region tournament.
Although the season, and Joe's career ended there, his place as one of the all-time great Class A performers was firmly cemented.
Joe finished with 1835 career points. He was voted the all-state first team three years in a row. Despite missing much of his senior season, he was selected as the WDA and state senior outstanding athlete. He was also a Mr. Basketball finalist.
And much more basketball was to come.
Hanstad took his skills to Boise State University, playing four seasons for the Broncos. A career that featured a couple trips to the NCAA Tournament, many memories and academic honors through the Mountain West Conference. A degree in Business Administration would also be earned.
Today, Joe is back home in Dickinson. Busy with a career in financing and a growing family to raise with his wife, Danielle.
Q: You graduated from Dickinson High School in 2011, correct?
Q: Growing up did you play a lot of sports, and if so, was basketball always your favorite?
A: Basketball has always been my favorite sport. I devoted a lot of my time growing up trying to be the best player I could be. My dream was always to play Division 1 basketball. Other than basketball, we spent our time hunting or fishing. Between those activities, we were busy all year.
Q: Did you play a lot of youth/travel ball growing up? You had an older brother that your played with, correct?
A: Yes, my brother was a senior when I was a freshman. We were able to play his final year for Dickinson High together. Growing up, we played in tournaments year around and were traveling all the time. My dad was my coach. We counted a rough estimate at one time for how many games we played. The numbers were huge, and the games were all over the country. My dad sacrificed a lot of time and resources to giving my brother and I the best opportunities to become successful in whatever we chose. Our family loves basketball so we used that platform.
Q: You played four years at Dickinson. Was it a bit of an adjustment early on being a freshman playing against older players?
A: Not really. Since my brother was older than me, I always played against bigger and stronger kids. It was a blessing to have someone always around that was better than you. During our grade school years, we would play two or 3 grades above us, so I was used to playing at higher levels.
Q: You really came into your own as a sophomore at Dickinson, averaging over 26 points per game; earning Gatorade Player of the Year honors and earning the first of three consecutive all-state honors. Were you surprised at your early success in high school?
A: I believe accolades are by-products of hard work and dedication. I was blessed to have a family who continuously pushed me to get better every day. I put in a tremendous amount of time to becoming the best player I could be.
Q: Your junior season also produced solid numbers, averaging around 23 points per game, but certainly you garnered a lot of attention from opposing teams. How were you able
to continue to get your shots and be successful, despite the increased attention by teams trying to contain/stop you? Did you have to prepare mentally each game, knowing you were going to see everyone's best defensive efforts?
A: That is just part of the game and I had to learn how to adjust to different defenses. I became a much better player because of it in the long run. After my junior year is when I became a much better shooter. And that ended paying off in the long run since that was what I needed for the next level.
Where are they now: Dickinson basketball standout Joe Hanstad
Scored 1835 points in his career with the Midgets
Dickinson's Joe Hanstad fires up a shot during a game at the West Region Tournament in 2011. Hanstad scored 1835 points in his high school career before taking his skills to Boise State University. Photo courtesy of the Dickinson Press
Q: Early in your senior year you scored a career-high 44 points and were moving toward the Class A all-time career scoring record when you suffered a fractured right wrist. Do you remember much about how that injury happened? What were some of your initial thoughts right after the injury? Did you think you would have a chance to come back and play?
A: It was a home game against Bismarck High. I went up for a rebound and was sort of undercut and I caught myself. I knew something bad happened right away. I was having one of my best games ever before it happened. I finished out the game playing mostly with my left hand.
Q: You were sidelined for several weeks to recover from surgery, but fortunately you did get an opportunity to play in the West Region Tournament. It must have been a good feeling getting to finish your career on the court and not sidelined?
A: Yes, it was great that I was able to play a couple more games. Looking back, I probably should have never come back for the WDA tournament. My wrist was still healing. I spent a lot of time rehabbing and trying to get it ready. I remember the skin on my wrist peeling after those games from all the IcyHot I had to use to keep it loose. It was a tough year, but I am so thankful for it. God sometimes puts obstacles and tough times in our way to teach us and make us better people.
Q: You finished with 1,835 career points which, at that time, was good for third all-time in Class A scoring. Was there a point in your high school career that you thought about becoming the top career scorer? Possibly getting over 2,000 points?
A: Just from the numbers, yes, I would have scored over that. But that is the whole point of records. They are hard to beat. Those career statistics are a testament to those in front being consistent for all four years.
Q: Despite playing less than half of your games in your senior year, you were voted WDA and state senior athlete of the year; again earned a first-team all-state honor and were a Mr. Basketball finalist. Were you surprised to receive those accolades, despite missing a good majority of your final season?
A: I was very appreciative and honored by the awards. There were a lot of great players all the years that I played.
Q: Was there a particular moment/season/game that stands out during your time in high school?
A: One of my favorite seasons was my freshman year getting to play with my brother. We had a great team that year and took 3rd at state. One of my favorite games was when we beat Century at their place my junior year. I made a 3 at the end to win the game. Another fun game that I remember was the third place game at state my junior year. We were disappointed by not making the championship, but we came out and beat Bismarck High. That was one of my best and favorite games. I also had some of most memorable times during the summer AAU basketball. Being able to travel around the country as a high schooler was a blast. My sophomore summer was I able to play on a high level team out of Minneapolis. Those were fun since there were pro scouts coming to watch and evaluate you.
Q: Some of the comments and quotes from opposing coaches about you was that your talent level was matched only by your work ethic. An honest, humble player; someone who plays the right way and with a great deal of character. Do you feel like that describes your approach to the game?
A: I was blessed with amazing parents who expected those character traits. My goal was to always play the right way and to try and be a good example. I failed many times, but thankfully, we have a God of forgiveness!
Q: Prior to your senior year, you made the decision to attend and play basketball at Boise State University. Did you receive interest from other schools? What drew you to Boise State?
A: The recruiting process was a fun, but stressful experience. I was recruited by a number of schools and took visits to a few. I visited Gonzaga, Washington State, Colorado, Colorado St., Boise State, South Dakota St., Minnesota, NDSU. Other schools that were in the recruiting process were Kansas, Wisconsin, Iowa, Portland, and Columbia. The assistant coach at Gonzaga took the head coach job at Boise State. I had built a good relationship and that’s how I chose Boise.
Q: Was it an adjustment getting acclimated to college away from home and being on your own? Certainly there is quite a jump from high school to Division One basketball. What where some of the main differences/adjustments?
A: The hardest part was how much time and dedication is put into being a student athlete at that level. You think that you worked hard in high school, but it was not even close to D1. Every day we had a rigorous schedule of weights, conditioning, basketball, school, internships, and recovery. It was early morning and late nights, but I had a blast with my teammates and made friends for life through the journey.
Note: This is one in a series of stories on former WDA standout athletes who moved on to careers/lives elsewhere.
Q: You played four seasons at Boise State. What role did you fill on the team?
A: I played a lot of different roles throughout my four years. I mainly played the 2 or shooting guard position. There were times I was a starter and times I was a role/bench player. A couple games I was the leading scorer on the team, and other games my job was to support my teammates on the bench. At that level there are so many great players coming in and out of the program that the lineups were always changing.
Q: Was there a particular moment/season/game that stands out during your time at Boise State?
A: Some of the most memorable moments were the two years that we made it to the NCAA tournament. It was fun to experience the tournament that I watched for some many years as a kid. It was also fun to travel and play at some of the best venues college basketball has to offer. We played at Kentucky, Michigan St., NC State, Iowa, Wisconsin, etc. The Mountain West conference we played in also had really fun atmospheres. Some of my favorite venues were San Diego State, New Mexico and Utah State.
Q: You received all-academic honors from the Mountain West and earned a scholar athlete award. Was it a challenge to balance school with the rigors of taking part in a sport? What were the keys to being a top student?
A: Yes, it was a challenge. The hardest part was that we traveled almost every week, so completing your schooling in hotels was always interesting. Early on I knew that I didn’t want to continue playing basketball, so I had to make sure academics were a focus. I was fortunate enough to also get into an internship with a top financial advisor in the country. I was able to learn about the business that I wanted to be in after college.
Q: What degree(s) did you receive from Boise State?
A: Bachelor of Business Administration
Q: Following your career and schooling, what was the next chapter for you? When did you return home to begin a career?
A: My wife and I got married after we graduated from college, and we pretty much moved back to Dickinson right after that.
Q: Today, you presently work in Dickinson at Gate City Bank. What is your title/position there?
A: I am the Financial Advisor for Gate City Bank here in Dickinson. I love the work I get to do every day. Being an advisor in my hometown was something I wanted to do back in college. There are a lot of lessons I learned through basketball that help me every day to better serve my clients.
Q: Tell me a little about your family. What hobbies/interests do you like to do in your free time?
A: I have been married to my wonderful wife, Danielle, for almost 5 years. We have two amazing kids. Peter is 2 and Nora is 7 months. We love raising our kids here and they keep us really busy. With the free time that I do get, I enjoy getting out on the golf course, fishing for walleyes, and hunting pheasants in the fall.
Q: What advice can you give young athletes today that are involved in high school activities? What should they be most focused on?
A: My advice is to always dream big and go for it. You have the opportunity to choose to do whatever you want to do. Find what you are passionate about and put your heart and soul into it. Good things come from hard work and dedication.
Resides: Dickinson, N.D.
WDA school: Dickinson, class of 2011
Did You Know: Hanstad is among the all-time scoring leaders in Class A basketball history...Was a four-year letterwinner at Boise State University and earned academic all-conference honors from the Mountain West.