Freshman shooting guard positive on teammates though squad stays winless

Freshman shooting guard Thatch Unruh has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember.

He said his favorite part of playing basketball at UCA is the bonding and friendships he has built with his teammates on and off the court.

“Even as we struggle, this team has been able to keep positivity and optimism high among each other throughout it all,” Unruh said. “I love all my teammates and coaches. We have really grown close together already in the short amount of time we have been together. I love this team.”

Freshman point guard Jordan Howard said Unruh is one of the most genuine people and best shooters he’s been around.

“He’s a great guy to play with and also a person who lives in a Christly example,” Howard said.

Freshman guard Tyler Simmons said Unruh is an all around great person.

“He is a hardworking person in everything he does and does everything the right way,” Simmons said. “He has very high integrity. It doesn’t hurt he shoots the 3-ball better than most people.”

Unruh came to play at UCA because he wanted to play for Coach Russ Pennell more than anyone other coach.

“My favorite part of playing basketball is competing,” he said.

Unruh said his goal for this season is to continue to get better individually and as a team every day.

“Even as we still struggle, we are all staying positive and trusting the process,” he said. “We believe and trust in coach [Pennell]. We just need to play better for longer stretches in games.”

Unruh is a business management major.

He said he would love to play basketball after school, but he still doesn’t know what he wants to do.

Unruh said the time that being a student-athlete requires could be stressful.

“Once I am able to get into a routine, that’s when things get a little easier,” he said. “Traveling all over the place every week makes school a little more difficult. That is what comes with being a student-athlete though, so I try to embrace it.”

He has played in 17 games so far this season, averaging 6.1 points and 1.9 rebounds per game.

Unruh has shot 36 for 97 on the season.

He has a .371 percentage from the field, a .343 percentage from behind the 3-point line and a .583 percentage from the free throw line.

Unruh was born in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. He moved to Conway for a year before moving to Branson, Missouri and lived there for about 18 years until his family moved to Fayetteville last summer.

Unruh played basketball at Branson High School, where he averaged 20 points, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 assists during his senior year.

After graduating from Branson High School, Unruh played at Quakerdale Prep in New Providence, Iowa for a year of post-grad play before coming to UCA.

Unruh retained his four years of eligibility because his year at Quakerdale didn’t count toward his college career.

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