2003-04 Basketball Athletes of the Week

February 16, 2004-February 22, 2004

Will Jefferson, Inside, Jr., Wausau (East)
Jefferson scored a career-high 20 points without missing a single shot in leading the Blugolds to a 65-61 road victory over UW-Platteville, a win that clinched a spot in the WIAC tourney for Eau Claire. He shattered his previous career-high of 14 points by hitting eight-of-eight from the floor, one-of-one from three-point range, and three-of-three from the free-throw line. He also dished out two assists and grabbed a rebound in the win that ended the Blugolds' five-game losing streak.

February 9, 2004-February 15, 2004

Casey Drake, Outside, Jr., Rhinelander
Drake had a career game Saturday despite an 80-68 loss to 12th-ranked Stevens Point. He almost single-handedly kept the Blugolds in the game as he scored a career-high 35 points on 12-of-19 shooting, including hitting five-of-seven from downtown and six-of-eight from the free-throw line. He also grabbed a team-best six rebounds in the game and totaled an assist. His previous career-high was 23 points, which he accomplished four separate times. Drake added 12 points, two assists, and a rebound on Wednesday against Oshkosh to finish the week with 47 points on 17-of-34 shooting (50 percent), seven rebounds, and three assists. He connected on seven-of-nine shots from three-point range.

February 2, 2004-February 8, 2004

Kale Proksch, Inside, So., Chaseburg (Westby)
Proksch matched his career high in rebounds with nine rebounds in each of two games last week while also posting a career-high 15 points against River Falls on Saturday. Against the Falcons, Proksch hit five-of-eight from the floor and five-of-six from the free-throw line while totaling two assists and a steal. For the week he finished with 17 points on six-of-nine shooting, 18 rebounds, three assists, and two steals.

January 26, 2004-February 1, 2004

Casey Drake, Outside, Jr., Rhinelander
Drake led the Blugolds to a 1-1 record this week as Eau Claire topped Superior but fell to Whitewater. The fourth-highest scorer in the WIAC had two great games, scoring 19 points on nine-of-18 shooting to go along with six rebounds, three steals and an assist in the win against Superior. Against the Warhawks, Drake totaled 18 points on five-of-nine shooting, four rebounds, two steals and three assists while hitting all seven attempts from the free-throw line. For the week he finished with 37 points on 14-of-27 shooting (51.8 percent), 10 rebounds, five steals, four assists, and a perfect seven-of-seven from the charity stripe.

January 19, 2004-January 25, 2004

Tyler Birkel, Inside, So., Spring Valley
Birkel played well in both Blugold games this week, both heartbreaking losses at the buzzer against Platteville and Stout. Against the Blue Devils, Birkel posted 12 points on six-of-10 shooting while totaling four rebounds, three steals, and a blocked shot. In Wednesday's loss to the Pioneers, Birkel totaled four points, three rebounds, and two blocks. For the week he finished with 16 points on eight-of-12 shooting, seven rebounds, three steals, and three blocked shots.

January 12, 2004-January 18, 2004

Buck Smith, Inside, So., Superior
Smith had a breakout type game on Saturday against St. Mary's as he posted career-highs in points with 19 and rebounds with nine. The 6-9 sophomore connected on eight-of-nine from the floor and three-of-five from the free-throw line. He also posted a block in the Blugolds 78-50 trouncing of the Cardinals.

January 5, 2004-January 11, 2004

Casey Drake, Outside, Jr., Rhinelander
Drake had a phenomenal week in leading the Blugolds over 13th-ranked UW-Whitewater as he hit a runner in the lane with one second left in overtime to give Eau Claire the victory over the Warhawks. Drake scored a team-high 23 points in the win while dishing out four assists. In a tough loss to UW-River Falls on Wednesday night, Drake was the highlight of the Blugold offense and the only member of Eau Claire in double digit points as he scored 21 to go along with six rebounds. For the week, Drake finished with 44 points, eight rebounds, and five assists.

December 28, 2003-January 4, 2004

Casey Drake, Outside, Jr., Rhinelander
Drake led the Blugolds to two double-digit victories and Eau Claire's fifth straight Holiday Classic championship title while being named the tournament most valuable player. In a 73-53 win over Finlandia in the first round of the Holiday Classic, Drake led the team with 21 points while also grabbing five rebounds and connecting on 6-of-7 from the free throw line. In the championship game against Viterbo, who defeated sixth-ranked Buena Vista in the first round, Drake led all scorers with 14 points while also totaling four rebounds and three steals. Drake also had a solid game in a 70-58 loss to second-ranked Stevens Point, totaling 17 points in the loss. For the week he finished with 52 points and 11 rebounds.

December 8, 2003-December 14, 2003

Buck Smith, Inside, So., Superior
Smith had an excellent week off the bench for the Blugolds, scoring double-digit points in each of Eau Claire's two games. Against UW-Superior, Smith totaled 10 points and three rebounds while shooting 4-of-4 from the free throw line. In Saturday's blowout victory over St. Scholastica, Smith scored 14 points on 5-of-7 shooting, while also grabbing nine rebounds and blocking three shots in just 20 minutes of play. He finished the week with 24 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks in just 46 minutes.

December 1, 2003-December 7, 2003

Casey Drake, Outside, Jr., Rhinelander, WI
Drake played phenomenally on both offense and defense as he led the Blugolds to two conference victories. In a 51-43 road victory over La Crosse, Drake scored seven points to go along with five rebounds and an assist while also totaling three steals. He was even better in a 62-58 overtime victory over Stout, in which he scored 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds while also tallying two assists and two steals. He played a tough defense, holding Stout's Jeff Vandenberghe, who came into the contest second on the Blue Devils roster in scoring with a 13.6 point per game average, to just two points in 39 minutes as Drake allowed the Blue Devil shooter just four shot attempts. For the week, Drake totaled 30 points, 14 rebounds, three assists, and five steals.

November 24, 2003-November 30, 2003

Casey Drake, Outside, Jr., Rhinelander, WI
Drake was named to the John R. Collier Tournament All-Tournament team as the Blugolds finished in second place in the tournament, knocking off nationally-ranked Wittenberg and then falling to third-ranked Hanover in the championship game. In the Blugolds win over No. 20 Wittenberg, Drake scored 12 points, with 10 of the 12 coming in the second half or overtime. He also recorded a team-high six rebounds to go along with two steals and two assists. In the Blugolds championship loss to third-ranked Hanover, Drake recorded a team-high 13 points to go along with three rebounds and three assists.

November 17, 2003-November 23, 2003

Casey Drake, Outside, Jr., Rhinelander, WI
Drake was named to the five-member All-Tournament team at the 26th Annual Blugold Tip-Off Tournament. Drake topped all scores wit 23 points in a 55-53 victory over Coe (IA) College in which Drake made 7-of-11 shots from the floor, including 5-of-6 from three-point range. On Saturday Drake again led the Blugolds with 17 points losing to Cardinal Stritch 68-56 in the Tip-Off championship game. In two games Drake scored 40 points, grabbed seven rebounds and two blocks in 70 minutes while shooting 13-for-27 (.481) from the floor including a 6-for-11 (.545) performance from behind the arc.