He lights up when given the opportunity to talk about Nebraska’s Fourth of July City. Brevin Sloup is a proud Seward native and Seward High School graduate. Sloup’s affection for his hometown, and his sense of humor, are evident in his Twitter bio. It reads simply, “Seward” – plane emoji – “Seward.”
His journey may not have covered a lot of ground, in terms of mileage, but Sloup has not seen his ‘faith walk’ as any less rewarding.
“I don’t have any regrets,” Sloup said of his decision to stay home. “It’s all worked out so far. A lot of people know I like Seward a lot. I like the small-town atmosphere and getting to know the community. They have your back and support you through everything. I appreciate everything the coaches do. Each year I’ve gotten closer with them. It goes beyond basketball. I love the faith aspect of it all.”
After coming off the bench as a freshman and sophomore, Sloup has taken on a starring role in 2018-19. The all-time leading scorer in Bluejay history has become an absolutely critical piece in the lineup for head coach Ben Limback’s program, which returned just one starter this season. Sloup took advantage of a wide-open situation at point guard. Through 11 games, he’s averaging 15.3 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.4 assists.
It took a lot of work for the 5-foot-9 Sloup to get to this point. Not unlike others who were stars for their high school teams, Sloup entered college basketball with no playing time guarantees. On that 2016-17 squad, Sloup was not likely to take a lot of minutes away from established veterans like Seth Curran, All-American Chandler Folkerts and sharpshooter Eli Ziegler. Sloup took the right approach. He learned from them.
“It was a big adjustment,” Sloup said of his reserve role (8.5 minutes per game). “My senior year (at Seward High School) I had a lot of success and played a lot. The seniors made it known how important I was to the team even though I wasn’t playing as big of a role. I don’t know if it was exactly what I wanted at the time, but looking back I think I gained a lot from it. I was able to understand it and work my way up.”
Sloup earned more playing time as a sophomore in 2017-18. He had his moments of brilliance. He put up 17 points in a road win over Dordt, but that game was more the exception during a season that saw Sloup average 4.5 points per game. With everything he saw this summer and leading up to the opening tipoff of the 2018-19 campaign, Limback felt confident the time was right to move Sloup into the starting lineup.
“He’s always been driven and motivated to get better,” Limback said. “It was just a matter of time before he was ready for something like this. What he did this summer was really embrace the challenge. We all felt like he was going to have to be one of the guys. He’s gotten a lot stronger and defensively has been his biggest area of growth. His hard work and desire to get better every day has set him apart.”
Sloup’s importance is obvious on a team that has featured nine freshmen and two transfers on its varsity roster. The Bulldogs are currently 7-4 overall with his services. They’re sure glad they don’t have to think about life would be like without him had he decided to sign on with a rival GPAC school. Sloup entertained the idea of leaving Seward, but he’s happy to remain in a place where much of the town knows him and takes pride in his success.
“It’s fun. I always get teased,” Sloup said of being the hometown guy. “With our Phoenix trip coming up – everyone knows how much I like Seward and I’m not a big traveler. Tanner (Shuck) always gives me heck. He’ll say that we’re going to Phoenix, but ‘Brev isn’t going to enjoy it.’ He’s joking obviously, but I do let people know how much I do like being around Seward. But I’ll enjoy the warm weather for sure.”
Sloup’s impact goes beyond what fans see on the basketball court. As a teammate and roommate, Sloup has also helped force Shuck to become outgoing while also aiding in him becoming one of the GPAC’s most lethal scorers. Shuck has been on a tear, entering the week having averaged 25.7 points over the past three games.
There are likely few people happier for Shuck than Sloup. They are in their third year as teammates. Never before has the program counted upon the duo more than it does now.
“Tanner is a really special guy,” Sloup says of Shuck. “I’ve been roommates with him. Honestly I was a little skeptical when I first came and met Tanner. He was kind of quiet, but we’ve really built a bond. He’s a blast to play with. He’s been a really big part of my spiritual walk as well. I know that’s really important to him. He’s helped me grow in that aspect. Outside of basketball, he’s always there for me no matter what it is.”
Shuck had similarly complimentary comments regarding Sloup after a recent game. Said Shuck, “You know that he’s going to hit some shots and he’s going to find the open guys too. He’s super unselfish. He’s not going to get mad at you for taking a bad shot. He’s going to encourage you. He’s a great player and he can do a lot offensively. It’s fun to play with him.”
It sure sounds like Sloup has found what he was looking for, right in the shadows of the farm he was raised on by parents Nick and Andrea, who do not have to go more than a few miles to watch Brevin’s home games. Their daughter Natalie also attends Concordia as a member of the dance team.
The Sloup name is well-established within the community.
“I’m lucky to know a lot of people in Seward,” Brevin said. “It’s always nice to see someone in Fast Mart or Runza say, ‘Hey, nice game,’ or say that they watched it or listened on the radio. It’s cool going from high school to Concordia games and to notice the following that stays with you. It’s that community aspect of it that makes it special.”