Point Loma Nazarene University occasionally serves as a quality stepping stone between high school and professional sports. This was the case for Marek Klassen and Hayden Lescault, two 2015 Point Loma alumni. Both went on to play professionally in the European League in Britain; Klassen traveled joined the Worcester Wolves, while Lescault joined the Glasgow Rocks.
“I have really enjoyed my time playing in Europe,” Klassen replied when asked how he feels. “It is very different than the States, the flow of the game is much faster and requires everyone to be able to do multiple jobs. But I love it, it’s a job that I pursued for a long time.” Klassen is the starting point guard for the Worcester Wolves and the team leader in assists with an average of 9.3 per game.
Lescault also agreed that he loved playing in Europe. “It’s a great level of basketball with a lot of talented players. The guys over here really understand the game and play more team basketball with a lot of ball screens and ball movement as opposed to more of the one-on-one ball that you would see in the States. Playing professionally has always been a dream of mine, and I’m really enjoying it everyday. There’s a lot of work that goes into it day in and day out but that’s fun to me. I genuinely enjoy that process and I think that’s what has kept me progressing throughout my career.” Lescault is the starting shooting guard for the Glasgow Rocks and averages 13.8 points per game.
Both players are extremely talented and dedicated to their sport. When asked specifically how the PLNU basketball team prepared them for their professional careers, Lescault said, “The main thing that I walked away from Point Loma with was an extremely strong work ethic. Coach Carr really worked us hard on the track, in the weight room, and on the court. So after four years of that, there is really no amount of work that intimidates me.”
Klassen agreed with Lescault and elaborated, “I think Point Loma gave me some tools such as developing a great work ethic, and defensive mindset that have helped me out here. However, the offensive style of ball we played when I was there was as far from European style as possible.”
Klassen also discussed how he has been reaching out to the community spiritually. “There are two other strong believers on my team this year, which is really exciting. That makes playing so much easier when you have guys who understand their purpose… and that basketball is a tool to share God’s glory… We will definitely be connecting with a church soon.”
Klassen and Lescault will be going head to head on October 14th. When asked about how they each felt playing against a former teammate, Lescault stated, “Marek is like a brother to me. We came in to Point Loma together and we were roommates for a few years and did everything together. I was even a groomsman in his wedding. It’s a pretty amazing thing that we both ended up playing in the same league overseas. Getting the chance to finally play against each other is special. Off the court, we couldn’t be closer friends. On the court though… I’m ready to go out there and treat him like the enemy. It’ll be nothing short of a war.”
Klassen added, “It will be a good game! We talk a lot but haven’t seen each other yet, so it will be awesome to reconnect. Can’t wait for the first time we switch on to each other. I’m excited to see how much he has improved since college!” Worcester is 1-2 and Glasgow is 1-1, which will make for an adrenaline-filled, exciting evening.
When asked about advice for student athletes who want to make it to the professional world, Klassen said, “Anyone who seriously wants to play [professionally] has to take steps to approach the game as a player [and] also as a professional. They have to start making great connections with other pros, coaches, agents, and anyone who will give them a leg up on competition. Those first big connections like signing an agent and choosing the first level of league you play in are crucial.”
Lescault added, “If your goal is truly to play professionally, you have to be fully invested. You can’t just hope it’ll happen. You have to think about that goal everyday and take the positive steps to reach it. I know that sounds like the same old thing you hear everyday, but that’s because it’s the cold hard truth.”