Reggie Hearn hasn't seen a lot of playing time with Northwestern.
But the Snider graduate has kept a positive outlook as he completes his sophomore season.
"That's one thing I wanted when I was trying to choose a college, even if I wasn't playing, to be in a bigger sports atmosphere," Hearn said after the Wildcats' 75-65 win against Minnesota in the first round of the Big Ten tournament. "That's what I found at Northwestern and the Big Ten.
"Some of the best experiences that I have had could not have come if it weren't for playing Big Ten ball. Going to Italy (last August), that's an unforgettable experience regardless of the basketball aspect of it. Being able to play and see every Big Ten arena and just the atmosphere is incredible. I'm really enjoying it."
Hearn appeared in 16 games in the regular season. He played 45 minutes, and has scored 16 points. Hearn had a career-high 10 points and three rebounds Jan. 20 against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville.
Hearn played one minute Thursday, going 0 for 1 from the floor.
"At high school I played more of a forward spot, coming here, in Big Ten play, I don't have the size, so I moved over to guard," Hearn said. "It's been interesting, that's what I play in practice and sometimes I play forward.
"I've seen some hints of possibly seeing the floor. It just hasn't happened this year, but I have two years left. Hopefully, whatever happens this season, hopefully we'll make the NCAA tournament (by running the table in the Big Ten tournament), but after that I'll be moving forward, hoping for next year, hoping to get in there."
Russell Byrd has had to spend his first year at Michigan State watching from the bench. The Blackhawk Christian graduate broke a bone in the left foot last spring. When the injury didn't heal correctly, he had another surgery in October.
He was cleared on Dec. 27 and began practicing with the team two weeks ago. He is redshirting this season. Byrd said he learned a lot while watching and waiting.
"First thing is that you have to take your lumps, earn your respect," he said after the Spartans' 66-61 victory against Iowa. "… You've got to play defense at this level. You don't play D, you're not going to play."