Baker basketball ready to open seasons
It's basketball time at Baker University as the Wildcats tip-off the season Saturday at home against Haskell Indian Nations University. The BU women start it off at 5:30 p.m. in Collins gym, followed by the men at 7:30 p.m.
Baker's mens coach Rick Weaver isn't sure what will transpire in Saturday's opener, but he knows his Wildcats are ready to jostle around on the floor with someone else.
"We don't know much about Haskell as they have a new coach and it's the first game of the season," said Weaver. "At this point, we're mainly trying to work on our own game and continue to improve as the season goes on.
"Thus far, the team has worked hard in practice and we've been going at it since Oct. 1 so we're ready to see some new faces," said Weaver. "We don't have an established scorer returning so defense, rebounding and team play will be important."
While the Wildcats will have to find points from everyone, they do return a wealth of experience, including four returning starters. Guards Brandon McDonnell, 5-foot-10 junior from Topeka, and Scott Johnson, 6-1 senior from Tulsa, Okla., return to the backcourt. Pedro Dos Santos, 6-9 junior from Goiannia, Brazil, returns at center and Lee Driver, 6-2 senior from Williamsburg, will be at one forward. The other forward will be 6-6 sophomore Josh Flett from Wellsville.
They will all try to make up the loss of all-Heart of America Athletic Conference players Aaron Schwerman who led the Wildcats in scoring and rebounding last year, but has graduated.
"Overall, we've got some decent speed, size and experience returning, but we don't have anyone who is going to go out and score big every night," said Weaver. "We should be improved in the transition game and at the defensive end, and it will be interesting to see how the year develops."
Weaver is in his 18th year at the helm of the Wildcats and is the all-time winningest coach in Baker basketball history with 263 wins. The legendary Emil S. Liston is second with 226 and the list drops dramatically from there to 73 wins by James Irick.