Baker basketball set to open season
With the loss of five seniors (including four starters), the 2000-2001 Baker Wildcats roster will feature a totally different look as over half the team will be made up of new players. At least eight newcomers will join six returning lettermen on this year's BU cage squad.
To say the Cats will be "young" might be a major understatement as only one senior and three juniors are listed on the team roster. The first test will be Saturday at Haskell Indian College with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.
Replacing the veteran backcourt of Wellsville natives Kyle Deterding and Bryan Dorsey is a major challenge and three incoming players will compete with sophomore lettermen Brett Wollery and Lee Driver for playing time. Sophomore transfers Scott Johnson (NE Oklahoma) and Todd Heitshusen (South Dakota) join freshmen Brandon McDonnell (Topeka High) as newcomers in the BU backcourt. Johnson hails from Tulsa, Okla., and Heitshusen is a 1998 graduate of Lawrence High.
"Johnson and Heitshusen are capable shooters and McDonnell is more of a quick, penetrating type guard. I think we'll have some capable offensive firepower out of the guardcourt but we lost some solid leaders and defensive players in Bryan Dorsey and Kyle Deterding. They didn't score much but they didn't give up many points either," said Rick Weaver, Wildcats' coach.
With the loss of starting postmen John Duncanson and record-setting shot blocker Julio Dos Santos, the inside game is another primary area of concern. 6-foot-7 Aaron Schwerman, the Cats' leading scorer last year, returns for his junior season as does 6-5 Brandon Scarborough who saw limited action off the bench.
Newcomers expected to compete for playing time at the post positions are: 6-6 Jefferson West postman Ryan Tenbrink; 6-4 Dodge City freshman Luke Harris; and transfers Nick Blanchat (6-5 Allen County CC) and Ivica Simac (6-5 College of Rhode Island.) 6-9 Pedro Dos Santos, Julio's younger brother, will be listed as a freshman on the 2000-2001 team after enrolling at Baker last semester.
"Ryan Tenbrink and Luke Harris are quality freshmen but they will have some adjustments to make. Nick Blanchat and Ivica Simac can both step outside and shoot the three and I would expect they'll see some time at the "3" spot along with returnees Nick Wood and Adam Glenn. Pedro Dos Santos has a ways to go but he's got a shot at developing into a solid prospect with time," stated Weaver.
The 2000-2001 schedule is a tough one with 10 of the first 12 ballgames on the road. The nonconference schedule is highlighted by away games at NCAA II Ft. Hays State, Northwest Missouri State and NCAA III power Nebraska Wesleyan. A trip to San Diego over semester break to play Pt. Loma, a team that qualified for the NAIA I nationals last season is also an attractive feature of the upcoming schedule. Avila will be making its official entrance into HAAC play and BU will open the HAAC season at Avila Nov. 30.
"With all the new faces and early road games, this year could be an adventure of sorts. We have a ton of question marks and this will be the youngest team we've had in 16 years at Baker so things could be interesting at times. We might have a bit more firepower than we've had but I don't think we'll be as physical as we've been the last couple years," said Weaver, "We are definitely an 'inexperienced unknown' but that's part of the fun in coaching as every year is different."