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Former Saigon Heat player is Bucs' head coach | Boys basketball
KINGSTON — The Buccaneers’ newest member has done some traveling.
The last time Ben Wisniewski stepped onto a basketball court professionally, before coming to Kingston, he was playing for the Saigon Heat in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
Before that, Wisniewski was playing for the Edgewood College Eagles in New Berlin, Wis., and semi-professional ball for the Gary Splash in Indiana.
“It’s been an interesting ride,” Wisniewski said. “I’ve really enjoyed it so far.”
The Wisconsin-born basketball enthusiast recently began his next adventure: coaching the Kingston Buccaneers boys basketball team.
This is Wisniewski’s first coaching gig for winter sports. He’s coached summer teams and has experience in personal training and assistant coaching. While in Vietnam, he helped out in a youth development program and assisted with the Heat. All of that transitions well to his new job coaching the Bucs, he said.
During his time with the Eagles, Wisniewski accumulated 1,719 points, becoming the Northern Athletics Conference leading scorer. He helped lead the Eagles to their first NCAA Division III Tournament win over River Falls.
Wisniewski graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business and finance.
Wisniewski would like to carry on the boys basketball program’s winning tradition, he said. He would like the team stay above .500, along with being a contender for the Olympic League title and make it to state.
“It won’t be easy to accomplish those goals,” he said.
The Bucs have one returning starter, Henry English, who has a broken hand. English, a varsity football player, will be out for up to five or six weeks.
Other starters are also banged up from football. Matthew Shaw has an injured knee, and Nathan Carleton was concussed during the state playoff game against the Lynden Lions Nov. 15.
Though he’s concerned about the health of players who would most likely be starters, Wisniewski said the Bucs still have the potential to compete.
“I’m excited to be here; excited to get the season going,” he said.
The road to Kingston for Wisniewski began with Jason Rabedeaux. Rabedeaux, who coaches with the Saigon Heat, has a son, Beau, on the Kingston team. When Wisniewski told Jason Rabedeaux he was ready to move on to a new position, Rabedeaux suggested he apply to Kingston High School. Four or five weeks later, and about 30 hours of driving, Wisniewski landed in Kingston.