Athlete of the Week: Sean Armstrong, Senior, Civil Engineering

For Sean Armstrong, playing basketball has always been a family affair. His father, Tony, has been coaching for nearly 30 years in their home state of Kansas, earning 4 high school coach of the year awards. Sean’s mother played collegiate basketball, as did his older sister Jenna, who became a standout guard at the University of Iowa. So, it should come at no surprise that Armstrong is witnessing incredible success in his senior season as an Oredigger. He has helped a team that only a few years ago finished with a dismal 4-15 record in RMAC play soar to a 24-4 record and earn the RMAC regular season championship, earning a #1 seed in the RMAC shootout for the second year in a row.

Steven Wooldridge / Oredigger

During this year’s run, Armstrong has the led the Orediggers in scoring (15.6), field goal percentage (.522), and assists (3.8). He is currently second in the RMAC in assist to turnover ratio (1.8). Armstrong has been the epitome of consistency, scoring at least 10 points in 25 of the Orediggers 28 games, and scoring more than 20 points in 7 of those games. During a Feb 5 game at Lockridge Arena, he netted a game high 28 points as he led Mines to a crucial 65-48 pounding of RMAC rival Metro State which opened the door for the Orediggers to claim the regular season championship.

Earlier this week, Armstrong was awarded the RMAC player of the year, unanimously named a first team all-RMAC selection, and featured on the RMAC weekly radio show.
Future stuff… to be added Sunday morning when I find out if their season is over….

[Oredigger]: What is it like to see the growth this team has made over the past few years?
[Armstrong]: It’s awesome. It’s cool to look back at where the program has come from. When I was a freshman, we were setting the same goals as we did this year, but to be able to finally accomplish them is incredible.

What is your mindset as you head in to the last few games of your career?
I don’t know. I probably won’t think about it, really. It will be weird to be finished with practice. It’s always been a part of my life.

What other activities do you enjoy?
I like to play golf a lot. I’ll probably do that a lot when basketball is over. I also like to watch SportsCenter and play video games and just hang out with friends and family.

What is your favorite pro sports team?
I like the Nuggets, especially now since they don’t have a big superstar on their team anymore. But I’m a huge Kansas City fan, so I love the Chiefs and the Royals.

What has it been like to embrace more of a leadership role this year?
I really look to the guys that were leaders when I was a freshman and sophomore. We had good leaders on our team then, like Levi Hamilton. They led by example, and helped me to be a better player. I’m kind of a soft spoken person, and I’ll try to lead by example like they did.

What has it been like to play under Coach Orser (2011 RMAC coach of the year)?
He’s huge. He pushes us to better. Not just better players, but better people. He really brings out the best in his players.

How do you juggle academics and athletics?
I’m not really sure. They’re just two of the higher things on my priority list. Basketball and academics are right up their with my family. But, I guess you just learn how to time manage, really.

What will you do when you graduate?
I’ve always liked to be a structural engineer, which they don’t have here. So, I’ll probably go to grad school after I’m done here.

What is your favorite basketball memory?
Probably this year. I’ve been in some big games before, but I’ve never spent four years with a team and had this much success. And I’ve never won a conference championship or anything like that.

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