Gitzen goes his own way, making his mark in basketball

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Carson Chapel

Connor Gitzen is straying away from his family’s past and is embracing himself in basketball.

Carson Chapel and Paul Kercher

Senior Connor Gitzen’s dad, brother, sister, uncles and grandfather all played baseball or softball. He tried to follow in his family’s footsteps, but eventually turned to basketball. 

“My whole family were baseball players and I played to follow my family tradition, but the game was too slow for me and I was growing taller than most kids my age. So I started basketball and fell in love with the game,” Gitzen said. 

Gitzen has always played center on the basketball team, and he has played a key role for Baldwin since he was a freshman. He started as a bench player, getting limited minutes, but worked his way to being a starter for the Highlanders, picking up rebounds and scoring in the paint. 

“I’ve been blessed with the ability to play minutes for the varsity team since my freshman year and experience many intense games where one possession could change the ending result,” Gitzen said. 

Those years on varsity have led to some strong memories.

“My most memorable moment was when I hit a shot three quarters of the court long at the buzzer before halftime during my sophomore year. It put us up by 12 and gave us the push we needed heading into the second half,” Gitzen said. 

Junior James Wesling knew that Gitzen would be a key player since he is strong and tall. 

“His strength and dominance help on both the offensive end with scoring and the defensive end with rebounding,” Wesling said. 

Injuries are always a problem for athletes and Gitzen is no exception, but he has been able to work through the problems. 

“Conner’s work ethic is unmatched. He has gone through many injuries yet always finds a way to come back even better and stronger. There isn’t a day where he isn’t doing something to improve himself as a player,” senior Owen Hutchinson said. 

His strength and dominance help on both the offensive end with scoring and the defensive end with rebounding”

— James Wesling

Gitzen excels in rebounding and scoring around the paint. He acknowledged an area for growth, though. 

“I struggle with shooting because I have been the center my whole life and never got the chance or training to be a good shooter like a guard,” Gitzen said. 

Gitzen hopes to have a good season and make it a memorable year. He also hopes to make an impact on people positively after basketball, in part by pursuing a career as an attorney. 

“My future goals are to become successful in the career I choose to pursue, and I want to be able to teach younger kids and hopefully my own kids the sport of basketball and all the aspects that come with it,” Gitzen said.