The Cottage Grove Bucks! A 3rd Grade In-house team with incredible talent and passion. One of six teams at the 3rd Grade level in Cottage Grove, however, they do things just a bit different then the norm. Head Coach Michael Kilsdonk (those in the community call him “Coach K”) has these boys preparing for bigger and better. Following the Park High School system, the Cottage Grove Bucks practice using the same terminology as the high school, which will prepare them for the future. Although scaled down a bit, the boys still are challenged each and every week to grow and improve their skills. Along with the high paced practices, Coach K schedules scrimmages with nearby communities as well as tournaments for the boys to play in. His philosophy is simple, "the more they play, the better they will get".
The Bucks will log many miles this season and play in places like Becker and Princeton, Minnesota. On top of that, the Bucks will even travel 4 ½ hours away to play in Appleton, Wisconsin in February. This group of boys go by many names. Coach Dave Blumberg who is the Boys In-House Director for Cottage Grove, refers to them as the 21’s. Meaning, the Park graduating class of 2021. Although all the boys are referred to as “Wolfpack” in season, outside of the regular season, the 21’s are the Cottage Grove Stars. They adopted this identity with their offseason training, as something that bonds this class together, all the way through high school.
Coach K started with these boys as first graders, doing a 12 week extended season after their clinic was complete. The boys practiced and scrimmaged during this time while inviting other communities to join and scrimmage. In 2nd grade, Cottage Grove strived to create a league, the response was overwhelming and they actually ran out of space. So...Coach K took a group of 2nd graders to play in the 3rd grade league with much success. The boys were able to hold their own and compete at a high level. During the Spring of 2011, the team experienced a trip of a lifetime and visited Lawrence, Kansas to compete in Winter Nationals. They were able to achieve 2nd place, an awesome accomplishment for them but also to showcase Cottage Grove and Minnesota as well.
This season, the in-house is structured as NBA teams. The Cottage Grove Bucks show up to each practice with a jump rope and jump 100 times. They then have to work on their form shooting, prior to each practice. The boys are expected to have a notebook for writing down plays and terminology. The Bucks players are also expected to be leaders on and off the court. Part of their warm up routines are done by only the players. This helps build leadership and accountability amongst the players.
Among the terminology from Park High School, this team also follows the Park High Philosophy:
- Teach the student athletes to be better basketball players by stressing the basic fundamentals that will enable them to succeed on the court.
- Sacrifice our individual needs for the good of the team.
- Stress accountability and commitment to enrich our program’s culture.
- Instill an unmatched work ethic necessary to compete at a high level.
- Insist on academic and personal excellence within the framework of our team.
- Create an atmosphere where proven student leaders have a voice in their program.
- Provide a positive and rewarding experience for all student athletes.
Whether they are the Cottage Grove Bucks, 21’s, Stars or Wolfpack, these boys love playing the game of basketball with their buddies, and that is what it truly is all about. To see more photos and action of the Cottage Grove Bucks, check out The Bucks Facebook Page.