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MN Rise practice resumes as sports make a comeback

NEW ULM — After more than three months of being shut down, it seems like basketball is finally coming back.

New Ulm’s Kory Kettner, who is the director of the Minnesota Rise, got back in action with his participants on Monday this week and they were allowed to work on things such as footwork and ball-handling drills. No competition (three-on-three) is allowed at any of the workouts, nor is it allowed within the state of Minnesota.

“That’s what makes it difficult for Minnesota,” Kettner said. “Wisconsin, Iowa, South Dakota are all open for competition or will be shortly.”

Kettner has groups from fourth grade up until senior-age and all of those groups have an hour and 15 minutes to practice for each session.

While it’s tough not being able to compete, it’s at least a step in the right direction for the Rise and Kettner.

“They come in at their time slot and we work on the fundamentals, we’re heavy on footwork right now, ballhandling stuff and we’re getting that stuff down,” Kettner said. “We’ll kind of add stuff each session as we go.”

He’s hoping that they can resume competition soon, but there’s really nothing he can do about it.

“It’s hurry up and wait, basically,” Kettner said. “Until things open up more, we will just continue to work on individual skills, there won’t be any team competition until that next step, so that’s kind of where we’re at.”

The participants are required follow proper sanitation guidelines.

“They bring their own basketball and they wipe their basketball down when they come in, we have hand sanitizer that they’re required to use at the beginning and at the end of each session, and they’re required to wipe their ball down at the end of each session, too.”

The Rise teams were shut down in March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kettner is glad to have basketball back in his life.

“Monday was my first time in the gym working kids out since early March, I think we had one early practice session, it never felt better,” he said. “So it’s good to just to be able to do this, even if it’s just a limited basis, you’re kind of restricted as to what you can do, but it just feels good to be able to work with the kids and teach them.”

The kids are glad to be back, too.

“They’re ecstatic, the parents are ecstatic, they’re sick of hearing ‘I’m bored’ and I think everybody is just ready, people are ready to do something,” he said.

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