Ortmeier Most 'Useful' at MCC

By Mark Janssen

​To a small degree, one could call DeShawn Ortmeier … Onesimus.

​He’s a little known Biblical character with the name meaning “useful,” which Onesimus was as a loyal brother, and Ortmeier certainly is to his basketball brothers at Manhattan Christian College.

​“He’s the type of individual who has everything done before you ask for it to be done,” said MCC assistant basketball coach Jordan Strom. “With DeShawn, you’re comfortable that the job will be done, and done well.”

​Head coach Shawn Condra added of his former student assistant coach/manager, “He does so many things for me, and he’s so likeable. He’s sort of a liaison between the coaching staff and the players. He has that feel for the guys.”

​For the last three semesters, Ortmeier has served as a do-it-all more equipment manager than coach. That includes doing everything that no one else wants to do making him very “useful.” He washes jerseys, cleans locker rooms and matches jersey number with shorts and warmup shooting shirts.

​With pride in his voice and puffing up his slender 6-foot frame, Ortmeier said, “Coach Strom likes to say, ‘He’s the man!’ ”

​But there’s a problem now that the second semester has started for MCC basketball. Ortmeier had a hankering to be “useful” on the court wearing his new No. 11 Thunder uniform that he had been washing and ironing by hand.

​“He came to us saying he would like to try to play, so I certainly wasn’t going to deny him of that dream,” said Condra of his new guard.

​Smiling at the opportunity that lies ahead, Ortmeier is most realistic as he says, “I just want to work hard in practice and do everything I can to make someone else better. I know I won’t be on the court much, but I think I can help the team in practice.”

​The fact is, growing up in Omaha, Neb., Ortmeier hasn’t played organized basketball on a competitive team since playing Saturday morning youth ball between the third and eighth gradewhen he said, “It’s hard to believe now, but I was a chubby kid who played the post.”

​After that, he says, “I went to Omaha Central High School where they won four or five state titles in a row, so that was pretty intimidating. But I always thought it would be fun to be on a team someday.”

​So much so, when he arrived at MCC he approached Condra to be the team’s … well, “useful” man.

​“I came here and didn’t know anyone, so I just thought the quickest way to make some friends would be to be active on a team,” said Ortmeier. “Last year I also helped out at volleyball, soccer and baseball games.”

​Today, he has scads of Thunder friends, who hopefully will be cheering for him when the score gets lopsided and he finds his way into games this winter.

​Ortmeier found MCC while being active in his Omaha Stonebridge Christian Church youth group during “Oasis” weekend trips to Manhattan.

​“They were just trips to learn more about Jesus,” he said. “But it was also a time where I started to enjoy the atmosphere of MCC and learned how welcoming the professors were here. I’ve only been here just over a year, but the school has exceeded all my expectations.”

​Laughing, he added, “I don’t mean to suck up, but I’ve enjoyed every class I’ve had here.They really have been eye-opening and really increased my desire to experience different cultures.”

​Ortmeier is an Intercultural and Social Justice major, who plans to focus on missionary work in the years to come.

​He took the first step toward that through the Christ In Youth organization where he not only did a video, but also created a web page that raised over $500 for the drilling of a water well in Malawi, Africa.

​Ortmeier journeyed to Africa last summer to see his dad, Hannington, and take the next step toward experiencing the world through God.

​With his father living across the world throughout his high school years, it’s another area where Manhattan Christian College has come to be … here’s that word again … “useful.”

​More than ever before, he says, “I’ve learned that I’m God’s child and He is always there for me. My dad is in my life, but since my parents were never together I missed that father figure who was living with me. I’ve learned that God can be that father figure for me. He’s always there. Even though he’s not my earthly father, He’s always there. It’s a comforting feeling that has grown since I arrived at MCC.”

MCC Scoreboard

2/25/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 2s Arlington Baptist College | L, 88-81 
2/20/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 1 Barclay College | W, 109-90 
2/20/2021 | Womens Basketball vs. No. 5 Faith Baptist Bible College | W, 78-67 
2/19/2021 | Mens Basketball vs. No. 3 Faith Baptist Bible College | W, 93-70 
2/19/2021 | Womens Basketball vs. No. 7 Central Christian College of the Bible | W, 64-57