The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

Sports

March 2, 2013

Bucknell basketball star becomes the center of attention

LEWISBURG — During one of his darkest hours, Dave Paulsen saw the light.

Just days after his first season as coach of a Bucknell University men’s basketball team that finished 7-23, Paulsen and assistant coach Dane Fischer sat in a Minneapolis gym to watch a recruit — an under-the-radar senior center named Mike Muscala — who had committed to the Lewisburg school nearly a year earlier.

“Dane and I were sitting in the stands and we were trying to control ourselves,” Paulsen recalls of watching that high school playoff game. “It was like ’Oh. My. God. Look at what we’ve got coming in.’ We felt like we hit the lottery.”

Added Fischer, chuckling: “I’ve known coach a long time. I wouldn’t say he was controlling himself. I don’t know if I’ve seen him more excited.”

In reality, both Bucknell and Muscala won big.

Paulsen, who won a national title at Williams College in Williamstown, Mass., wasn’t used to seven-win seasons. Within two years, he had the Bison in the NCAA Tournament. Muscala has been the cornerstone since he stepped on campus and Saturday moved within two points of becoming the program's all-time leading scorer.

He’ll also likely be an NBA draft pick this spring.

So how did a kid from the Minneapolis suburbs become the greatest player in Bucknell University history?

Read more of this story in Sunday's edition of The Daily Item.

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