Elon University’s basketball statistics list five players averaging in double figures. At the top is sophomore forward Tyler Seibring at 12.2 points per game.
It is a modest total for a team high, but Seibring isn’t complaining.
He is rejoicing.
You see, Seibring is in his comfort zone … part of a cohesive group that values team over self. The players are bigger and the game faster. Yet, in many ways Seibring is back at Normal Community High School, where as a senior he and his buddies shared the ball and the spotlight while placing second in the Class 4A State Tournament.
“That’s what I always think about here when we’re playing … that on any given night a different guy can beat you. It’s just like playing at Normal,” Seibring said Saturday. “There isn’t one star who the other team is trying to shut down. You have to prepare for everyone. It’s that multidimensional approach.”
The 6-foot-8, 225-pound Seibring also leads Elon in minutes played (31.0 per game), rebounding (6.3) and blocked shots (0.8).
A member of the Colonial Athletic Association’s All-Rookie Team last year, he was a preseason honorable mention all-conference pick this season.
So yes, there are some folks taking note of the steady guy who has started 41 of 42 games since stepping onto the Elon, N.C., campus.
“I’m not worried about those things right now,” Seibring said. “We’re just looking to win games. I think we’ve proven it’s not a one-guy show. We’re going to beat you as a team with the system we’re running.”
That seals it. You can take the boy out of Normal, but you can’t ….
It’s the only way Seibring knows to play. Think of it as his basketball DNA.
He considers it a blessing, and attributes it to the all-for-one, familial culture at NCHS under Dave Witzig.
“I imagine I’ll look back at my high school days as some of my favorite times playing basketball. Even now I see it that way,” Seibring said. “I was playing with guys I had played with my whole life. They were great people, great friends.
“That’s kind of what I have here at Elon now. I think it (NCHS) definitely prepared me for the balanced attack and just trying to win a game … that it’s not about any personal goals.”
Seibring was talking from an airport terminal, awaiting the team’s flight to Newark, N.J., and a Sunday nonconference game against Saint Peter’s.
Elon’s 6-4 record includes a 77-74 loss at Georgetown on Dec. 4. It also features three wins in the Northern Illinois Thanksgiving Classic, including an 85-80 double overtime victory over Northern Illinois in which Seibring scored five points in the second OT and 15 in all.
It wasn’t quite like being in Bloomington-Normal, but close enough he had family and friends in the stands at DeKalb.
It felt good, right.
A lot of things have since Seibring committed to Elon in October 2014. His visit there oozed a cohesive, team-first vibe. He sensed it when talking to coach Matt Matheny, the assistant coaches, the players at the time.
“There’s a family atmosphere. When I was recruited it seemed too good to be true, but it has stayed true,” Seibring said. “I’m grateful for everything that has happened so far. And I’m excited for the next couple of years.”
Seibring also is pumped for Wednesday night’s game against No. 5 Duke at the Greensboro Coliseum. Elon lost to the Blue Devils, 105-66, last year at Duke’s famed Cameron Indoor Stadium. Seibring started and had five points, four rebounds and two assists.
He also had a ‘wow’ moment in the pregame.
“It was in warmups where it got me,” Seibring said of the setting. “By the time the game started I was pretty locked in and ready to go.
“It was after Christmas and their students weren’t there, but they still managed to fill it up. It was a great atmosphere. We look forward to playing them (Wednesday).”
Win or lose (likely lose), the Phoenix will play Duke as a team. They’ll be in it together.
It’s all Seibring knows.
And all he wants.