The first family of Eastview basketball has a decidedly South Dakota feel. No wonder, when you learn that the Lightning girls coach is one of the legendary players in South Dakota high school and college history, and her twin children will continue their basketball careers at South Dakota colleges.
Here’s the rundown...
--Coach Melissa Guebert was South Dakota’s Miss Basketball in 1982, her senior season at Sioux Falls Lincoln High School, and she remains the all-time scoring leader at Augustana College, also in Sioux Falls.
--Madison Guebert, a 5-foot-8 Eastview senior on her mom’s team, is one of the top players in Minnesota and will continue her career at South Dakota State.
--Drew, a senior on the Eastview boys team and Madison’s twin brother, is a 6-foot-7 forward who will play college basketball at the University of Sioux Falls.
The family’s South Dakota roots run deep. Dan Guebbert (husband of Melissa and father of Madison, Drew and eighth-grade daughter Maci) also attended Augustana, as did Melissa’s parents and three brothers.
So when Madison and Drew embark for college, they will have grandparents and other relatives close by … even if they won’t be attending the “family” college.
“I think we would have been happy if one of them had picked Augustana,” Melissa said with a smile. “And we love Sioux Falls. So the fact that Drew is going to be at the University of Sioux Falls and Madison will be in Brookings; having family right there, it’s going to be great for us.”
The twins had plenty of other schools to choose from. Madison also took close looks at Creighton, Drake and Illinois, and Drew considered several schools in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, three in South Dakota and American University in Washington, D.C.
Family roots wasn’t the sole reason for their college decisions, but it came into play.
“I didn’t want to base my decision on it, but it was definitely a factor,” Madison said. “It was hard just because there wasn’t anything I didn’t like at any of the schools. It’s hard to explain, it’s kind of like a feeling you get. And every time I went there (South Dakota State), even the first time I went there I was like, ‘Oh, I can see myself here.’ I said that about the other places, too, but there was just something else (about SDSU).”
Drew said, “For me it wasn’t a huge deal to stay around here but it kind of felt right and it’s nice for our family.”
One of the hurdles Madison had to deal with was her grandfather’s not-so-favorable feelings about South Dakota State, stemming from the rivalry between Augustana and South Dakota State.
Madison explained it like this: “Our grandpa has a hard time with South Dakota State.”
Melissa said, “My dad played basketball at Augustana. And even at the time when I played, South Dakota State was in our conference and there was a huge rivalry between Augustana and South Dakota State. It was a really tough place to go play at South Dakota State. My dad just had this almost bad feeling because the rivalry was so intense. So when Madison was first looking at the school, we said, ‘Hey, do you want to meet us at a game there?’ We had to really work to get him to come to a game.
“When Madison decided, I called him before Madison did. I just said to him, ‘She’s super excited and I hope when she calls you are excited for her.’ And he started to realize that he was going to get a chance to see her play. I think it became more about that than the school itself. It all boils down to an old rivalry for him and what that used to be like.”
Both Eastview teams are having good seasons. The girls (the defending Class 4A state champions) are 14-1 and ranked second in 4A; the boys have a record of 12-5.
Melissa said she is not certain that she will return as coach next season, because of the tug of wanting to watch her twins play in college. Juggling basketball lives and time commitments is nothing new for the Gueberts, however.
Eastview is playing several girl-boy varsity doubleheaders this season, which makes watching both children play an easy task. But on many game nights the girls and boys teams are in different places, with Dan watching Drew’s team play while Melissa and Madison are at their game.
“The only hard thing to me is not having my mom at some of my games,” said Drew.
Melissa said, “It’s hard for both of us. My decision to coach this year, I had to really think about it because it was Drew’s senior year, too. At the same time, if I wasn’t coaching it would still be a split, with my husband at his games, me at her games and we would have been switching.
“That sacrifice has been the hardest part about coaching. And our younger daughter, she sacrifices because of that, too. I know it hasn’t been easy but Drew’s been great about it.”
Melissa is an elementary teacher and Madison is considering a career in education (Drew is undecided). Their family life centers on basketball, but they find time for fishing trips and other family getaways.
“They eat, sleep and breathe basketball,” said Eastview activities director Matt Percival. “They can’t get enough of it, but in a really good, positive family way. Their family has been a very unifying thing for the basketball programs. Not only are they well-known but they are certainly very well-respected by everyone in our building and our community.”
BY THE NUMBERS
*Schools/teams John has visited: 290
*Miles John has driven in the Toyota Camry in 2014-15: 6,322