Lincoln Meister has provided his own kind of 'renewable energy' in Duluth
Former Rochester John Marshall basketball standout Lincoln Meister has been an infectious piece of the puzzle for the powerhouse University of Minnesota Duluth basketball team.
DULUTH — Lincoln Meister wasn’t used to this. But he’d love to make it a habit.
Big postseason runs had forever eluded the Rochester John Marshall graduate. At least until late this season, with he and his University of Minnesota Duluth basketball team advancing all the way to the NCAA Division II Elite Eight.
The run finally ended there on Tuesday, the Bulldogs losing 86-68 to Black Hills State University (S.D.) in Evansville, Ind.
“It was an awesome experience; I’ll never forget it,” said Meister, a 6-foot-9, 235-pound junior center who has two years of eligibility left and intends to use them both. “Winning our regional tournament was nuts. For me, it was especially great because I’ve been on a bunch of great teams in my life, with great regular seasons, but it had never amounted to championships in section or regional tournaments. To finally win one and cut down the nets after beating Southern Nazarene in our (Central Regional) tournament, that was awesome.”
Meister’s time at Minnesota Duluth has been novel in a couple of ways. Not only has he been introduced to postseason success, but also to being a role player for the first time in his life.
Though incredibly efficient, shooting 58% from the field this season and 63% as a sophomore, and also a solid rebounder, Meister doesn’t start for the Bulldogs. That’s because in front of him is fellow junior center and 2021-22 Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference Player of the Year, Austin Andrews.
It’s meant that Meister’s role has been limited. This season, he averaged 11.9 minutes per game, 4.2 points and 2.9 rebounds on a team that finished 26-10 and two wins from playing for a national championship.
It’s been different. But it’s also been great.
“I was playing a little bit more toward the end of this season,” said Meister, who has added 40 pounds of muscle since his senior year at John Marshall. “I’ve enjoyed it. It’s been different, going from being a starter my whole life to this. I have to bring a different kind of energy off the bench. But it is different than playing 30 minutes per game and being a starter. If you’re only playing a few minutes per game and you make a mistake, it’s hard for it not to break your game. It’s a balancing act of staying mentally focused and at the same time, not focused on mistakes.”
Keeps stepping up
That bench role may not be a permanent one. Meister’s minutes went up during the stretch run this season because he was playing so well. An eventual pairing of him and Andrews as starters is a real possibility.
Minnesota Duluth coach Justin Wieck fell in love with what he saw from Meister in the final weeks.
“Lincoln has gotten better and better,” Wieck said. “His size brings a different element to our team as a rim protector and a guy who can block shots. But he is also now starting to finish better around the rim. Plus, his energy is awesome. He’s got all the tools. At the end of the season, I had a hard time keeping him off the floor because he was playing so well.”
Meister’s energy and impact is significant on and off the floor.
“He’s a great teammate and a funny guy,” Wieck said. “The guys really enjoy his personality. He’s got a lot of different interests outside of basketball. He’s just got an infectious personality and brings a ton to our team.”
One of Meister’s current interests is how to make renewable energy from that big body of water that laps up against Duluth, Lake Superior.
This is a physics major and an incredibly bright one, so he can’t help but ponder such things. As a senior at John Marshall, he was awarded the highest math and science award. He’s not let up at Minnesota Duluth where in three years he’s already closing in on his undergraduate degree in physics and has begun graduate-level classes.
“Renewable and sustainable energy, I just find it really interesting,” Meister said. “It seems like you're getting energy from nothing. One of my projects with energy is the lake, to see if you could get renewable energy from that, to find out if there is a way to do it.”
When it comes to Meister’s personal life, his greatest source of “renewable energy” has been his family.
A basketball playing bunch, with younger sister Lilly a college freshman playing at Division I power Indiana University, and John Marshall sophomore Alayna already a starter for the Rockets, the Meisters feed off each other.
With parents Curt and Angie both former high school and college basketball stars, basketball has been a constant source of energy and connection for the Meisters.
And this energy has not a thing to do with physics. It’s entirely the emotional kind, with Lincoln, Lilly and Alayna each being the others biggest fans.
Lincoln will be forever indebted and appreciative of that.
“It’s cool to be a part of this with my family,” he said. “We all support each other and basketball has been a huge part of our lives, our entire lives.”