Dec. 5—ROCHESTER — It should come as no surprise that Isaiah Hanson wants to share the basketball when he is on the court.
Hanson, a senior at Mayo High School, is all about giving and sharing outside of sports and his philosophy applies to basketball as well.
As a junior, the 6-foot-4 Hanson was an All-Big Nine Conference player for the Mayo boys basketball team when he averaged 10.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game. The number he would probably like to improve the most on this season? Assists, no doubt.
Hanson got together with the rest of the Spartans' seniors prior to the start of the season and as a group they decided the team needs to pass the ball more this winter.
That decision caught Mayo coach Braden Markham off guard.
"Actually I was a little surprised by that," Markham admitted. "They just want to move the ball better to try to get better shots."
"I think that's something we've addressed in practice, moving the ball, making passes and trying to score as many points as we can off of assists," Hanson said. "And I think that fits right into my game."
That giving attitude runs in Hanson's family.
Hanson's father, Wade, is a family medicine doctor at the Mayo Clinic. Isaiah's older brother, Gabe, is a junior at Concordia College in Moorhead and also is on track to be a doctor.
Medicine also appears to be in Isaiah's future. He plans to attend prestigious Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore and major in pre-med. He will also play basketball for the Division III Blue Jays.
"It's hard to get into, but it helps to play basketball," Hanson said of Johns Hopkins. "I enjoy helping people, and I'm interested in the sciences, too."
Education is important to Hanson and his entire family.
"I take that seriously as all the kids in our family do," he said.
Hanson not only has four siblings, but he is also a triplet.
His two older brothers went to Century. Gabe played basketball for the Panthers and then one year at Concordia-Moorhead. The Hansons are in the Mayo school district, but the oldest sibling is confined to a wheelchair and he attended Century because it was more handicap accessible. Gabe followed in his footsteps at Century.
Isaiah is a triplet with sister, Hannah, and brother, Levi. Hannah is a standout athlete for Mayo who has excelled in volleyball, basketball and track and field. She has committed to play volleyball and run track at Division II Biola University in California.
Levi is a cross country runner at Mayo. Isaiah and Levi also play club volleyball together at Mayo.
Hanson is very giving of his time outside of sports as he is active in clubs, volunteer projects and church activities. He is an Eagle Scout, and at Mayo takes part in among other things Mayo Honor Society, Spanish Club and Spartan 300.
"He's just such a good role model," Markham said. "Just an ideal student and a great leader on and off the court."
Hanson's active lifestyle included trying to improve his basketball skills from a year ago. He lifted weights three times a week to prepare for his senior season and also worked with a personal trainer. During the summer he played AAU ball with the Minnesota Heat, based out of the Twin Cities, and that squad had an extended schedule, including some out-of-state tournaments.
Hanson believes he made strides in his overall game and said the extra work he has put in has improved his basketball IQ as well.
"I think I've become a better leader and decision maker," he said. "And defensively, and I've just become stronger, too."
Hanson has added about 10 pounds since his junior year and now weighs 180. He has shown the ability to be a good shooter coming off of screens. He has excelled running pick-and-roll plays to get inside, but also has the ability to knock down 3-pointers.
Hanson was a team captain as a junior, a role he will hold again this season. He said taking a leadership role is easier as a senior.
"I communicate with the guys and build relationships with them off and on the court," he said. "And I just have fun with everything. Because that's what we're doing, having fun with everything."
Hanson hopes the Spartans can compete for a Big Nine Conference title this season. He also wants to hold the upper hand when facing city rivals Century and John Marshall.
"I know a lot of the guys on the team on JM and Century so it's always a lot of fun to play them," Hanson said. "It's fun to beat them, too."