02 August 2013
The basketball players, both juniors at Indiana University Kokomo, reunited on the court after four years at Blue River Valley High School, in New Castle, Ind.
The pair started their careers on the club team two years ago, and has since seen the Cougars join the NAIA and then become members of the KIAC (Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference.) Together, they have helped IU Kokomo reach many firsts, including its first NAIA win against Judson University.
This season, they will lead the team in competition against conference members and vie for a conference championship.
"This year we have the one goal we have all been waiting for the chance to win a conference and make it to the NAIA tournament," said Lawrence. "We have been talking about being a part of a conference and working to win a championship since day one and now have that opportunity."
Off the court, Lawrence and Knupp are models of student athletes for IU Kokomo athletics. Both have set a high standard for what it means to be a Cougar student-athlete with their work on campus, attending campus and athletic events, participating in community events, and working hard in the classroom.
The impact of the character of these two students have on the team, school, and community since the beginning of the basketball program has Jace Thompson, head basketball coach, wondering how he will fill the void once they graduate.
"It's two years away and I've already started worrying about how I could replace these two leaders," said Thompson. "For a coach, these two make the job look easy and make me look good. Our program couldn't be any more proud to have two high school teammates come to us and lead this program.
"I'm looking forward to them finally being upper classmen but worry about the day they are gone."
Lawrence, a business marketing major, and Knupp, a health science major, are not only committed to being champions on the court, but also in the classroom.
"IUK has been great for me academically, and I am looking forward to a degree that says Indiana University," said Knupp. "Wanting to be in the health field, I could not have chosen a better campus known for its great health programs. It has been challenging, but with all the great professors, I have succeeded."
"They have been with us from the beginning of the sports programs, and that says a lot. They believed in the program and in their coach," said Dean of Students Sarah Sarber. "They saw the opportunity to be part of building a program and establishing a tradition and committed to it."
Now upperclassmen, Lawrence and Knupp still have two seasons to continue to impact and build a legacy for IU Kokomo and its athletic program.
"We are really excited about this season and looking forward to practicing and playing in our new gym," said Lawrence. "These last two years have been a great experience as part of the team and university, and we are looking forward to the next two years."
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana