A storybook ending for Elijah Hazekamp

Many Minnesota State University fans will remember Elijah Hazekamp as the man who hit the game-winning buzzer beater against Northwest Missouri State to send the Mavericks to the NCAA Elite Eight. 

But few people know the man behind that shot. 

He’d like to change that. 

“I want people to remember me as a nice, genuine guy,” he says. “I don’t care much at all about people remembering me for the things I did playing basketball. Having good character is much more important.”

Hazekamp has been playing basketball for as long as he can remember —  a journey that began when he was a child. 

“I had a basketball hoop in the front of my driveway at the house I lived in during my childhood,” he says. “I shot on it for hours a day no matter the weather. That was where I fell in love with the sport.”

Before coming to MSU, Hazekamp spent one year at North Dakota, and then transferred to Truman State for a better fit where he played for three years . He made a run to the Elite Eight in his first season with Truman State, but fell short in the quarterfinals. 

Hazekamp was faced with the tough decision of finding the school to play his final season of his collegiate career ultimately choosing MSU where he’s getting his masters in business administration.

“I saw a vision with the makeup of the roster and thought I could add my skills and personality to the team. I also considered how much closer it is to home and my family.”  

Hazekamp is from Sioux City, Iowa, which meant he spent a lot of time away from home missing golfing, playing sports with his siblings and the fun he used to have with his family and friends. 

The most important things to Hazekamp are his faith, family and friends. However, the most important figures in his life are his parents. 

“They are truly wonderful people that have supported me wholeheartedly throughout the years, and I hope I can show half of that support to the people I care most about in the future.”

Hazekamps ultimate goal and dream is to get into the coaching world. 

“I want to get into the coaching world, whether it is as an assistant or a skills coach. I have had numerous amazing coaches and people over the years and I want to be that person for the young players coming up.”

Hazekamp is sticking to his dreams after graduation.

“I want to get into the coaching world. I have some exciting opportunities in front of me that I plan to put my full heart and soul into.”

Though his time was short at MSU and in Mankato, Hazekamp will leave no shortage of life-changing memories. 

“I will miss my teammates, coaches and the support system surrounding the men’s basketball team. The support I felt growing throughout the season was truly special and I will miss being a part of that.”

Hazekamp has been through it all in his basketball career from making the NCAA Central Region All-Tournament Team, All-GLVC First Team and making the Elite Eight as a freshman to having the storybook ending in his final season becoming a national champion. 

For MSU basketball fans, he’ll be best known for the game winning shot in the NCAA Central Region championship. 

Malik Willingham with 5 seconds on the clock stormed down the court. When Northwest Missouri State doubled him, he looked for the open man. That’s when he unexpectedly found Hazekamp who hadn’t scored a point all night. 

Hazekamp rose up with 0.07 seconds remaining on the clock and sank the one handed floater to send the Mavericks to the Elite Eight. 

“Before that shot I went 0-6 that night, I blacked out for about 10-15 seconds there. I saw the video of me running around and then once I was at the bottom of that pile, things came back to me.” said Hazekamp. “It was slow motion, but I also knew it was going in. Right when I shot it, it felt good and it was only a matter of it going in.”

“It’s a feeling that I can’t justifiably put into words. It is an accomplishment that nobody will ever be able to take away from me. It is an accomplishment that I deserve because of the hard work I have put in over the years. I have had a rollercoaster ride of a basketball journey, and to cap it off with being a national champion is something I will cherish forever.”

Header Photo: Hazekamp hit a buzzer beater against Northwest Missouri State to send the Minnesota State men’s basketball team to the Eilte Eight. (Dylan Long/The Reporter)

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One thought on “A storybook ending for Elijah Hazekamp

  • CONGRATS Elijah! I guess I lost touch of where you were playing. I thought you were in Iowa. I am an Aunt of Eric Lund and therefore the last time I saw you was at Brady and Karli’s wedding. I,of course,have known Anne for many,many years! I plan to print and keep this along with the other important things I get from Facebook. Again,CONGRATS and Good Luck in the future. Bev Johnson


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