- December 18, 2013
Chase Maasdorp stepped onto the Auburn University campus in August as a student.
The Lakewood Ranch resident and The Out-of-Door Academy graduate had no athletic scholarship, and no spot on the Tigers' basketball team. He chose Auburn despite having scholarship offers from NCAA Division II and III schools, along with Division 1 programs Georgia Southern and Arkansas State.
Auburn's engineering program made the school his perfect choice, but he did still dream of playing major college basketball. He also knew the Tigers earned a trip to the Sweet 16 in last year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.
When Auburn coach Bruce Pearl announced open tryouts, the 6-foot, 165 pound Maasdorp had already been training for two months, hitting the recreational center courts for four hours every day after class, keeping his game sharp.
He was ready for the tryouts.
“They started at 6:30 a.m. and went for 90 minutes,” Maasdorp said. “There were 20 people there. We warmed up and went through basic drills, just so coaches could see what they were working with. Then we played three on three and five on five. That was Stage One. I played well in the five on five, and I think that is what helped me advance to Stage Two.
“It was cut from 20 people down to three, and the coaches said they were going to pick two of the three to make it. Stage two, they had us practice with the real team for 10 days. That means scrimmages and everything.”
Maasdorp played as hard as he could for those 10 days. He also got advice from junior guard Will Macoy, a former walk-on himself, after the first stage. Macoy told Maasdorp to do the little things to set himself apart: Show up first, leave last and out-hustle everyone. Maasdorp said Macoy “helped me more than he knows.”
Going into the process, Maasdorp said doubts creeped into his mind, because no one knows if they can hang with Division 1 players until they try. As the process went on, Maasdorp realized he could hang. When Pearl approached Maasdorp after the second stage’s final practice, what he said still took Maasdorp aback.
“He told me, ‘We are going to bring you on, we believe you can help us on the scout team right now,’” Maasdorp said. “For him to say I would be going against guys like Jared Harper (an All-SEC Second Team junior guard) every day, there are no words to explain how excited I was. Just putting that jersey on is unreal.”
Maasdorp wears No. 33 at Auburn, partly as an extension of the No. 3 he wore at ODA, and partly to honor Larry Bird. He is currently running the point on the Tigers' scout team, but he has also seen action in four of the eighth-ranked Tigers’ seven games this season (6-1). Maasdorp said his hands were sweating at the check-in table before his first regular season action, against South Alabama on Nov. 6, but after his first dribble he settled into the game. Against St. Peters on Nov. 29, Maasdorp scored his first four collegiate points, hitting a three-pointer and sinking a free throw.
Maasdorp said his current goal is to gain muscle mass throughout the next two years, getting on par with SEC-caliber guards. After that, Maasdorp said, his goal is to be a real contributor as a junior and senior, whether that means playing five minutes a night or 20 minutes a night.
“I do not want to stay stagnant,” Maasdorp said. “I think I be a part of the eight or nine man rotation he (Pearl) likes to use. I want to contribute every game. I want to be subbed in when it matters.”
Maasdorp is a lot closer to that goal now than he was in August. He is no longer just a student. He is a student-athlete.