Experienced Titans poised to contend in wide-open CCIW
2009-10 Illinois Wesleyan Men's Season Preview
November 8, 2009
by Bob Quillman, IWUHoops.com
Doug Sexauer, John Koschnitzky, Sean Johnson, and Travis Rosenkranz
(Pantagraph photo by Carlos T. Miranda)
|Season Schedule, Links to All Opponents||2008-09 Stats||D3hoops.com - Top 25 poll|
|Roster||Recruiting 2009 - Class of 2013||CCIW.org|
|2008-09 Schedule, Results||The Shirk Center - Home of the Titans||IWUsports.com (official school site)|
Past IWUHoops.com Season Previews: 2008-09 2007-08 2006-07 2005-06 2004-05 2003-04 2002-03 2001-02 2000-01
Looking backwards to move foward:
After finishing tied for 2nd in the powerful College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin (CCIW) in 2007-08 with a very young team, there was certainly reason for optimism in Bloomington heading into the 2008-09 season. 1st Team all-CCIW performer Darius Gant was gone, but the Titans returned a young core that was instrumental in IWU's 2008 CCIW success.
After a solid 8-3 non-conference season in 2008-09, optimism turned into disappointment during CCIW play. The Titans finished an uncharacteristic, for IWU, 7th place in the league (5-9), including a 3-game slide to end the year
A week before the 2009-10 Titans tip it off, we start by asking Illinois Wesleyan's fourth-year head coach Ron Rose, "What happened?"
"From an X's and O's standpoint, our CCIW problems were pretty simple," said Rose. "We couldn't stop anybody."
The Titans scored the second most points per game in league play (72.8), but gave up a crippling 77.6 on average - the second worst among the eight teams.
Rose also points to some much less tangible factors that impacted his squad last season.
"In an old league, which the CCIW was last year, we were a young team. And instead of elevating our play to that of a veteran team, we looked and played young during conference play."
The Titans primary 2009 CCIW rotation included 1 senior (Brett Chamernik), 1 junior (Sean Dwyer), 4 sophomores (Travis Rosenkranz, Sean Johnson, Doug Sexauer, and Edmond O'Callaghan), and 2 freshmen (Jordan Zimmer and John Koschnitzky).
It certainly was not an ideal year to be young in the CCIW. Regarded as one of the top two conferences in NCAA Division III perennially, the league was especially strong in 2008-09 due to a special senior class. Wheaton, led by 1st Team All-American Kent Raymond and 6-8 center Andy Wiele, advanced to the Elite Eight, before falling to eventual national champion Washington University. Elmhurst finished second in the league and made the tournament field as well behind 6-9 All-American Brent Ruch and all-CCIW performers Ryan Burks and Robert Strzemp. Augustana finished third, carried by five very talented seniors - Brett Wessels, Alex Washington, Jordan Delp, Justin Bertrand, and Chandlor Collins. And North Central, the 4th place finisher, had a dynamic senior combination as well in Chris Drennan and Matt Rogers. Seven different CCIW teams received votes in the D3hoops.com Top 25 poll during the 2008-09 season, with four teams appearing in the poll at some point.
Rose also points to his team's 0-2 start in the conference as a factor in how the remaining 12 games played out.
"We came into conference play 8-3 and had Wheaton, who ended up winning the league, on the ropes at their place in the CCIW opener," he said. "I honestly believe if we win that game, things are different after that. We end up losing to Wheaton in a close game, then come home, have North Central down 5 at half, and end up losing," Rose continued. "So we start off the conference season 0-2 and I believe we lost confidence, became tentative, and lost aggressiveness. In the CCIW, any year, if you're on your heels, you're in trouble. But last year the CCIW was so good that once we got in that downward spiral, we had trouble getting out of it. We never could string a 2 or 3 game win streak together, build confidence, and get back on track. It resulted in a disappointing and frustrating conference season for us."
So where does last season leave IWU's head coach and his players as they prepare for a new year? Very focused, it sounds like.
"Two years ago I think it came too easy for some of these young guys," said Rose. "Maybe the mindset was that if we can do this as a young team (finish 2nd in the CCIW), it's just going to come naturally that we're going to compete for the conference championship every year. Now they know that no one gives you anything in this league. As a result, our mindset this off-season was a much more mature one and last season gave these guys an idea how hard you have to work to win the CCIW."
Rose's team is in its fourth week of practice, and just a week away from opening play at the Shirk Center against Benedictine. The 1988 Illinois Wesleyan grad likes what he has seen so far.
"We're further along right now than we were any point last season," said Rose. "Not necessarily from an execution standpoint - it's still early - but from a maturity standpoint. There is a different level of urgency and a different level of desire than a year ago. We certainly still have a long way to go, but I just feel a different level of determination," he added.
Reading between the lines, Rose seems to feel that his junior class, specifically, is more determined heading into this season.
"Some of the upperclassmen, quite honestly, have done a turnabout in terms of their willingness to do things for the team and the willingness to be coached and the willingness to put in the work," said Rose. "If that continues, we're on the right path to a great season."
So let's take a look at the group of young men that will take the floor for the Titans in 2009-10
The 2009-10 Cast:
(Listed by IWUhoops.com projection of depth chart position heading into the season opener)
|G||Travis Rosenkranz||6-0/175||Jr.||Macon, IL (Meridian H.S.)|
2008-09: Started all 25 games, led team in minutes played (29.8 per game)...averaged 11.1 points, 4.4 assists...1.77 assist to turnover ratio...scored 20 points at Washington U.
2007-08: Played in all 27 games, starting 24...averaged 9.6 points, 3.3 assists...1.31 assist to turnover ratio...scored 20 points in conference tournament win over Wheaton
High school: Averaged 24.9 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.4 steals as a senior...shot 57% from the field, 42% from 3, 84% from the FT line...1st Team all-state IBCA...2nd Team all-state AP...fifth all-time in Illinois high school basketball in assists, sixth all-time in steals.
Ron Rose: "One of the players we expect to lead us this year...brings quickness, ball-handling, and explosiveness to the floor...has really shown improvement on the defensive end...has a great understanding of how to get shooters the ball and get teammates in the proper position, where they can do something with it...also critical to our team because of his ability to break a defender down...I expect Travis to have a big junior year."
|G||Sean Dwyer (Captain)||5-10/175||Sr.||Arlington Heights, IL (Hersey H.S.)|
2008-09: Played in all 25 games, started 3...averaged 5.1 points, 2.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists in 22 minutes per game
2007-08: Came back from injury to play in 19 games, starting in 11...averaged 5.5 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.7 assists in 23 minutes per game
2006-07: Was injured in IWU's second game at UW-Whitewater (broken foot) and missed the rest of the season.
High school: Averaged 14 points, 5 assists, 3 rebounds per game as senior on 19-9 team...shot 50 percent from the field, 40 percent from 3-point range, 76 percent at the free throw line...2.5 to 1 assist-turnover ratio...Daily Herald Player of the Year...Mid-Suburban East Player of the Year.
Ron Rose: "Senior captain...the leader of the team...tremendously hard worker and a floor general...as good of an off-ball defender as you will find...at his best when we need him to lock down on the other team's best scorer."
|G||Eliud Gonzalez||5-9/159||So.||Oak Lawn, IL (Richards H.S.)|
2008-09: Starting point-guard on JV team...played in 7 varsity games...suffered ACL tear near end of season.
High school: As senior was staring PG on IHSA Class 4A state champion Richards H.S. team...averaged 7.4 ppg and 6.2 apg...9 points, 5 assists, 3 steals in title game vs Zion-Benton...203 total assits on the season.
Ron Rose: "Cat quick...probably our best on-ball defender...call really break you down off the dribble...makes passes nobody else sees...has shown a strong capacity as a leader."
|G||Bradley Ghere||5-11/160||Fr.||Colfax, IL (Ridgeview H.S.)|
High school: As senior averaged 23.0 points, 5.2 assists...made 130 3-pointers, shot 85.3% from FT line...led Ridgeview to 29-4 record, 1A super-sectional...1st Team Pantagraph all-area...2nd Team all-state IBCA, 2nd Team all-state AP.
Ron Rose: "A hard worker and a fearless competitor...can really, really shoot the ball with range."
|G||Sean Johnson||6-1/185||Jr.||Washington, IL (H.S.)|
2008-09: Played in 24 of 25 games (started 23)...second in minutes played (28.9 per game)...averaged 11.7 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.8 assists...44-113 3-pt (.389)...scored 23 at Elmhurst.
2007-08: Started all 27 games...averaged 11.6 points, 2.5 rebounds, 2.7 assists...60-160 3-pt (.375)...named 3rd Team All-CCIW
High school: Scored 18.3 points per game, averaged 3.1 rebounds, 2.0 assists, 2.0 steals...made 75 3-pointers, shot 45% from 3...scored 35 points in final H.S. game, a sectional loss to Peoria Richwoods...3rd Team all-state IBCA...Peoria Journal Star all-area team.
Ron Rose: "A tremendous offensive player...has the ability to shoot the ball and at any point in the game can get hot and carry you for stretches...also has the ability to put in on the floor and is deceptively quick with the dribble...more than a shooter, Sean is a scorer...I've been very pleased with the effort and improvement on the defensive end...an emotional and firey player and a great competitor who wants to win...Sean's ability to defend will dictate his role this season."
|G||Jordan Zimmer||6-5/185||So.||Delavan, IL (H.S.)|
2008-09: Played in all 25 games, started 7...averaged 8.4 points, 1.6 rebounds...53-104 3-point (.510)...scored 22 points vs North Park.
High school: As senior, averaged 23.0 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.7 steals...led Delavan to 28-4 record and Regional title...123-293 3-pt (.420)...125-237 FT (.913)...scored 44 points in final high school game vs Putnam County...named "Best Defensive Player" on team that allowed 45.7 ppg...named 1st Team AP 1A all-state, 1st Team Chicago Sun-Times all-state, 1st Team IBCA all-state, 1st Team IHSS all-state, 1st Team IBS small school all-state, 1st Team Bloomington Pantagraph all-area, Pekin Times Player of the Year, Peoria Journal Star Player of the Year
Ron Rose: "One of the best shooters in the conference, if not the country...at 6-5, gets his shot off quickly and with great extension...I'm encouraged because he is adding pieces to his game...has shown improvement in putting the ball on the floor, and because of added strength, improvement as a rebounder as well...Jordan will be on the floor a lot this season, splitting team between the 2 and the 3."
|G||Dan Oswald||6-2/180||Fr.||LaGrange Park, IL (Riverside-Brookfield H.S.)|
High school: As senior averaged 17 points per game for 24-3 R-B team...shot 45% from 3-point range...two time all-conference, Suburban Life newspaper all-area.
Ron Rose: "A hard-nosed player with great desire...tremendous ability to shoot the basketball, both off the catch and off the bounce...learning our system, but picking it up very quickly...really excited about Dan's potential."
|G||Stephen Rudnicki||6-3/160||So.||Evanston, IL (Evanstan Township H.S.)|
2008-09: Starter on JV team, played in 3 varsity games.
High school: As senior led Evanston to IHSA Class 4A 3rd Place finish...averaged 9.8 points, 3.1 rebounds, 4.3 assists for 30-4 Wildcits.
Ron Rose: "A combo guard who can play both the 1 and the 2 well...sees the floor incredibly well...great understanding of the game...has ability to handle it, pass it, and shoot...a perimeter player with nice size...he is a player."
|G||Sean Seibring||6-2/180||So.||Normal, IL (Normal West H.S.)|
2008-09: Played on JV team.
High school: As senior averaged 12 points per game...made 10-man Bloomington Pantagraph All-Area 1st Team...1st Team All-Big 12.
Ron Rose: "Has made great strides since a year ago...has really shown dramatic improvement in his strength...excels at the mid-range...a solid defender due to his strength and athleticism."
|F||John Koschnitzky||6-6/195||So.||Oak Forest, IL (H.S.)|
2008-09: Played in all 25 games, started 20 (25 minutes per game)...averaged 9.5 points, 4.6 rebounds...21-50 3-point (.420)...scored 18 points at Augustana.
Prep School: Attended Air Force Academy Prep School, played basketball.
High school: As senior, averaged 20.7 points, 9.4 rebounds...named IBCA Class AA 4th team all-state...also played baseball...as pitcher was 7-1 with 2.42 ERA
Ron Rose: "Our most explosive player...has the ability to score in a variety of ways...he can shoot the 3, can go to the basket, and can post you up...his strength is his ability to score is those variety of ways...gives us size at the 3, which helps us rebound, and can guard a wide range of players, 1 through 4...needs to become more aggressive on both ends of the floor and learn to use all of his abilities."
|G/F||Matt Schick||6-4/200||Jr.||Lincoln, IL (H.S.)|
2008-09: Played in 11 varsity games, averaging 6 minutes per game.
2007-08: Played in all 27 games, started 3...averaged 3.0 points, 1.7 rebounds, 1.1 assists in 14 minutes per game.
High school: Four-year starter at Lincoln where teams went 109-26 (.807)...two trips to Class AA state tournament in Peoria...part of 33-win team as senior...averaged 13.3 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.3 assists, 2.4 steals as senior...Pantagraph All-Area...3rd Team All-State IBCA...all-time leader in games played at Lincoln (135)...#2 on all-time Lincoln assist list (210)...#2 on all-time Lincoln 3-point field goals made list (232).
Ron Rose: "A jack of all trades...brings a lot of different abilities to the team...has worked hard on the defensive end...gives us a perimeter player with size...very unselfish and has the ability to create opportunities for both himself and teammates."
|F||Luke Radliff||6-6/180||Fr.||Mahomet, IL (Mahomet-Seymour H.S.)|
High school: As senior averaged 17.9 points, 6.5 rebounds...shot 79.6 from FT line...all-Corn Belt conference...lettered 3 years in both basketball and golf.
Ron Rose: "A long, skilled 3 man who has a scorer's mentality...has to improve defensively to get in the mix."
|F||Doug Sexauer||6-7/210||Jr.||Homer Glen, IL (Lockport Township H.S.)|
2008-09: Started all 25 games (27.0 minutes per game)...averaged 12.5 points, 5.5 rebounds...shot .545 from the field...scored 21 vs Carthage...named 3rd Team All-CCIW.
2007-08: Came off bench in all 27 games...averaged 7.6 points and 3.1 rebounds...shot .497 from field and .375 from 3 (12-32).
High school: As senior, averaged 10.5 points and 5 rebounds per game for 22-8 Lockport team that made Class AA tournament in Peoria...3rd Team All-State IBCA...54.7% FG.
Ron Rose: "If Doug makes the same strides between his sophomore year to junior year that he did from freshman to sophomore, he will be one the premier post players in the conference...on the block, very hard to stop one-on-one and almost always requires a double team...can really shoot the ball from the perimeter, so we're trying to put him in more positions to face the basket so he can use that strength...on offense, needs to think of himself as a scorer and he has to want to be the 'go-to' guy in key situations...has worked hard at diversifying his post moves...we need Doug to be a consistent rebounder on both ends of the floor."
|F||Duncan Lawson||6-7/230||Jr.||Glen Ellyn, IL (Glenbard West H.S.)|
2008-09: Played in 15 games, started 2...11.1 minutes per game.
2007-08: Primarily played on the JV team...played in 15 varsity games, averaging 2.4 points and 1.6 rebounds in limited time.
High school: As senior, averaged 11 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists for 22-8 Glenbard West team that made Super-sectional round...shot 40% from 3.
Ron Rose: "I've been very pleased with Duncan's preseason...came in with more willingness to do the dirty work inside...has rebounded the ball well...moves very well for a player his size and is difficult to guard as a post player, because of his ability to step out and shoot the ball...a really good passer, who can feed the post very well."
|F||Kevin Reed||6-7/210||Fr.||Arlington Heights, IL (Prospect H.S.)|
High school: Played for former Titan John Camardella ('03)...as senior averaged 13.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 3.0 blocks for 21-8 team...two time all-conference, special mention all-state.
Ron Rose: "Has a bright future in our program...very skilled 4 man who can step out and shoot, can take you off the dribble, and also can get inside...can do a lot of different things on the basketball court. We think Kevin is going to be a player here."
|F||Dan Schouten||6-5/205||So.||Downers Grove, IL (Downers Grove South H.S.)|
2008-09: Injured entire season (other shoulder)...took medical redshirt
2007-08: Injured entire season (shoulder)
High school: Averaged 17.3 points and 7.5 rebounds for 17-10 team...Daily Herald All-Area team.
Ron Rose: "Just now getting healthy and getting in shape after being out his freshman and sophomore years with shoulder surgeries, and then missing time early this year with a stress fracture in his foot...just now starting to see what Dan is capable of...a 3/4 that can really score...very versatile swing man...shows a willingness to play hard and put a body on you."
|F||Dexter Walker||6-5/220||So.||Morton, IL (H.S.)|
2008-09: Starter on JV team.
High school: As senior averaged 18.1 points and 5.4 rebounds...made Peoria Journal Star 3A/4A All-Area team for third consecutive year.
Ron Rose: "Has not practiced since the first week due to a serious concussion...supposed to be fine in time, but not able to practice now...a guy who plays very hard and willing to sacrifice his body...does all the little things to help the team win."
|F||Tyler Bontemps||6-4/220||So.||Swansea, IL (Belleville East H.S.)...Lincoln Land C.C.|
2008-09: At Lincoln Land Community College, averaged 4.8 points, 3.8 rebounds.
High school: As senior at Belleville East, averaged 10 points, 6.3 rebounds.
Ron Rose: "The strongest kid on the team...tremendous athlete...plays very hard...an undersized post, but really attacks the glass and runs the floor well."
|F/C||Edmond O'Callaghan||6-6/200||Jr.||Chicago, IL (St. Patrick H.S.)|
2008-09: Played in 24 games, started 5 (16.3 minutes per game)...averaged 5.2 points, 3.7 rebounds...shot .630 from field...scored 11 points at Wheaton.
2007-08: Primarily played on the JV team...played in 9 varsity games, averaging 1.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in limited time.
High school: As senior, averaged 10.1 points and 8.3 rebounds for 20-6 St. Patrick team.
Ron Rose: "I think there has a been a body snatching around Bloomington-Normal, because Edmond is a totally different player this year...is exhibiting the work ethic and blue collar traits we were looking for when we recruited him out of St. Pat's...has the ability to score inside and can step out and hit the 15 footer...has been very active on the defensive end...a tremendous leaper that needs to use that to his advantage on both ends of the floor."
|C||Ryan Connolly||6-9/290||So.||Springfield, IL (Lanphier H.S.)|
2008-09: Starter on JV team...played in 10 varsity games.
High school: As senior, averaged 16.2 points and 9.9 rebounds, leading Lanphier to 18-win season and Sectional final appearance.
Ron Rose: "Potentially the biggest kid in the conference...is a tough matchup because of that size, but also possesses soft hands and a nice shooting touch...as he learns to run the floor and move his feet on the defensive end better, will earn more playing time."
|C||Eric McCullough||6-9/205||So.||Normal, IL (U High)|
2008-09: Suffered from hip condition most of season...had surgery to repair both hips immediately after season.
High school: As senior, averaged 13.3 points, 6.2 rebounds, 3.4 blocks...shot .540 from field...named Pantagraph 1st Team All-Area...D1 basketball scholarship offers included Eastern Illinois, Army, Holy Cross, Niagara, IUPUI, Youngstown State, Tennessee-Martin, and North Florida.
Ron Rose: "We're anxious to get Eric back on the court...has not been able to practice most of his time at Illinois Wesleyan due to injury...tremendous physical tools...can jump, has great timing, and can play above the rim...the whole key is his health and conditioning...would be in the mix for varsity playing time in the post if healthy."
IWUhoops.com Rotation Analysis:
IWUhoops.com thinks you'll see the following rotation start the season...
PG - Travis Rosenkranz, 6-0 (Jr) - definite starter
SG - Sean Johnson, 6-1 (Jr) - in a battle for the starting 2 job with Zimmer
SF - John Koschnitzky, 6-6 (So) - likely to start, but in a battle for starting 3 job with Zimmer
PF - Doug Sexauer, 6-7 (Jr) - definite starter
C - Edmond OCallaghan, 6-7 (Jr) - in a battle for a starting job (sliding Koschnitzy to 4 and Sexauer to 5 is possibility)
Bench (listed in order of projected minutes per game)
G - Jordan Zimmer, 6-5 (So) - time at the 2 and 3 should provide 25+ minutes per game...possibly the best 6th man in the CCIW
PG - Sean Dwyer, 5-10 (Sr) - probably the best backup PG in the CCIW and IWU's defensive specialist
PF - Duncan Lawson, 6-7 (Jr) - will begin year as the #1 post reserve
C - Ryan Connolly, 6-0 (So) - minutes will depend on ability to run the floor
SF - Matt Schick, 6-4 (Jr) - the role for this talented 2/3 is not clear yet, but Schick should have opportunity to win time
While the rotation should be a consistent, set-in-stone thing by CCIW time (January 6), don't be surprised if it changes over the course of the non-conference season. Some miscellaneous rotation thoughts and considerations...
The 2009-10 Titans are talented and very deep. It will be interesting to see how the pieces come togehter in November and December, and how this all looks in January and February.
|2008-09 CCIW Finish||2009-10 Coaches Poll|
|Wheaton 11-3||Wheaton (46), 4 1st|
|Elmhurst 10-4||Augustana (39), 2|
|Augustana 9-5||Carthage (37), 1|
|North Central 8-6||Illinois Wesleyan (36), 1|
|Carthage 7-7||Elmhurst (22)|
|Millikin 6-8||Millikin (17)|
|Illinois Wesleyan 5-9||North Central (15)|
|North Park 0-14||North Park (12)|
Despite losing all-world guard Kent Raymond, and longtime head coach Bill Harris, Wheaton was picked as the CCIW favorite by the league's coaches in the annual preseason poll. Illinois Wesleyan was picked 4th, also behind Augustana and Carthage. Ron Rose doesn't seem to take much stock in the poll.
"Two years ago we were picked 7th and finished 2nd," he pointed out. "Last year we were picked 4th and finished 7th. Those preseason polls don't mean a darn thing - the key is, you have to get it done on the floor."
Titan fans will want to note that the CCIW head coaches have only picked the league winner correctly four times in the last 10 years. If they don't end up being right this year, maybe we should cut them some slack - by all accounts, the CCIW is up for grabs after graduating an incredibly talented senior class in 2009.
"There is a lot of uncertainly in terms of which players will emerge as the best players, and which teams will emerge as the best teams," said Rose. "But anyone who says the CCIW is not going to be good this year is crazy. In the history of the CCIW, I don't know if it's ever not been good. Now, is it going to be as dominant as it was last year? The conference is rebuilding a bit to get back to that point, but there are talented players in the league."
When asked to explain what, in particular, makes the CCIW so tough, Rose pointed to the league's depth.
"What has made the CCIW so tough the last few years is that it is competitive from teams 1 through 8," explained Rose. "There is not a bottom 2 or 3 teams where you can count on 2 wins - that just does not exist anymore."
Veteran head coach Bosko Djurickovic of Carthage echoed those thoughts during the 2009 preseason online coaches chat. "The CCIW is better than it ever has been as far as competition is concerned. There are no nights off," he said. "In my first eight years as head coach at North Park, we were 50 and 0 against 3 CCIW schools." Djurickovic clarified, "This strength does not mean, however, that today's top teams are better. This has always been a great league and the Harper's (Michael, North Park '80), Sikma's (Jack, IWU '77), and Laing's (John, Augustana '73) were great players."
Ron Rose seems to like his team's position heading into an uncertain CCIW season.
"It is an exciting time, because you don't have known entities out there," he said. "It is a great position for us to be in because we find ourselves as one of the more experienced teams in the league all of the sudden. We have an opportunity, as the deck is being reshuffled with new players, to emerge as one of the best teams in the conference."
2008-09 record: 18-8 overall, 9-5 CCIW (3rd)
Starters lost: Brett Wessels (10.6 ppg), Alex Washington (9.0 ppg, 3.0 rpg), Justin Bertrand (9.0 ppg, 4.9 rpg), Chandlor Collins (8.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg)
Starters returning: Matt Pelton-Sr. (7.5 ppg, 2.5 rpg, 2.3 apg)
Top newcomers: Luke Scarlata, C (6-8/240, Fr.), George Dexter, F (6-7/194, Fr), Brandon Kunz, F (6-7/202, Fr.)
Projected Starting Lineup (by CCIW time):
G Matt Pelton (6-3/205, Sr.)
G Brian DeSimone (6-2/190, So.)
G Troy Rorer (6-2/193, So.)
F Bryant Voiles (6-9/190, Jr.)
F Kyle Nelson (6-9/222, Jr.)
2008-09 record: 15-10 overall, 7-7 CCIW (5th)
Starters lost: Billy Shemerdiak (2.8 ppg)
Starters returning: Steve Djurickovic-Jr. (27.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 6.4 apg), Sean Fendley-Sr. (14.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg), Adam Tolo-Sr. (7.1 ppg), Richard Williams-Sr. (3.8 ppg)
Top newcomers: Raul Guzman, F (6-6/250, Fr.), Tyler Pierce, F (6-5/230, Fr.)
Projected Starting Lineup (by CCIW time):
G Steve Djurickovic (6-3/179, So.)
G Sean Fendley (6-1/185, Sr.)
F Adam Tolo (6-6/200, Sr.)
F Raul Guzman (6-6/250, Fr)
C Tyler Pierce (6-5/230, Fr)
2008-09 record: 20-8 overall, 10-4 CCIW (2nd)
Starters lost: Brent Ruch (18.0 ppg, 7.4 rpg), Ryan Burks (16.1 ppg, 4.7 rpg), Robert Strzemp (8.8 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
Starters returning: Dustin Bainter-Sr. (6.4 ppg), Zack Boyd-So. (6.6 ppg, 3.5 rpg)
Top newcomers: Jordan Fairbairn, G (6-1/175, Jr - Kishwaukee Community College), James Robertston, G (6-3/170, Fr - Bradley), Matt Kaban, C (6-8/205, Fr), Rich Thomas, C (6-9/210, Fr)
Projected Starting Lineup (by CCIW time):
G Dustin Bainter (6-2/180, Sr.)
G Chris Childs (6-2/175, Sr.)
G Zack Boyd (6-2/190, So.)
G Joe Acosta (6-2/180, Jr.)
C Wes Dukeman (6-9/190, So.)
2008-09 record: 13-12 overall, 5-9 CCIW (7th)
Starters lost: Brett Chamernik (7.5 ppg, 4.3 rpg)
Starters returning: Doug Sexauer-Jr. (12.5 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Sean Johnson-Jr. (11.7 ppg), Travis Rosenkranz-Jr. (11.1 ppg, 4.4 apg), John Koschnitzky-So. (9.5 ppg, 4.6 rpg)
Top newcomers: Kevin Reed, F (6-7, Fr.), Dan Oswald, G (6-2, Fr.),
Projected Starting Lineup (by CCIW time):
G Travis Rosenkranz (6-0/175, Jr.)
G Sean Johnson (6-1/185, Jr.)
F John Koschnitzky (6-6/195, So.)
F Doug Sexauer (6-7/225. Jr.)
C Edmond O'Callaghan (6-6/200, Jr.)
2008-09 record: 16-9 overall, 6-8 CCIW (6th)
Starters lost: Tunde Ogunleye (14.4 ppg, 5.0 rpg), Mark Patrick (6.1 ppg)
Starters returning: Robert Burton-Sr. (9.8 ppg, 4.9 rpg), Joscar Demby-Sr. (9.2 ppg, 5.7 rpg), Corey Mitchell-Sr. (8.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg)
Top newcomers: Frank Schmitz, F (6-5, Fr)
Projected Starting Lineup (by CCIW time):
G Corey Mitchell (6-0, Sr.)
G Charles Warren (6-2, Sr.)
G Devin Demby (6-2, Sr.)
F Robert Burton (6-4, Sr.)
C Joscar Demby (6-7, Sr.)
2008-09 record: 16-10 overall, 8-6 CCIW (4th)
Starters lost: Chris Drennan (16.1 ppg, 5.3 rpg), Matt Rogers (13.9 ppg, 3.7 rpg), Mitch Raridon (10.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg), Dean Prince (4.0 ppg, 3.8 apg)
Starters returning: David Twyman-Sr. (7.3 ppg, 3.6 rpg)
Top newcomers: Joe Meyerhoff, C (6-8, Fr.), Kyle Julius, G (6-4, Sr - St. Andrew Presbyterian.), Brandon Stanciel (6-7, Fr.)
Projected Starting Lineup (by CCIW time):
G Jon Knapczyk (6-1/180, Sr.)
G Reid Barringer (6-0/170, Sr.)
F David Twyman (6-3/195, Sr.)
F Derek Raridon (6-6/190, Fr.)
C Joe Meyerhoff (6-8/230, Fr.)
2008-09 record: 8-17 overall, 0-14 CCIW (8th)
Starters lost: none
Starters returning: Nick Williams-Sr. (15.0 ppg), Roshawn Russell-So. (14.6 ppg), Phil Schniedermeier-Jr., D.J. Cooper-So., Kendall Greer-Jr
Top newcomers: Shaun Collins, G (6-2/180, Jr - Oakton Community College), Davone Robinson, G (6-1/185, So - UW-Eau Claire)
Projected starting lineup (by CCIW time):
G Roshawn Russell (5-9/150, So.)
G Shaun Collins (6-2/180, Jr.)
G Kendall Greer (6-4/190, Jr.)
F Nick Williams (6-5/210, Sr.)
C Phil Schniedermeier (6-7/230, Jr.)
2007-08 record: 26-4 overall, 11-3 CCIW (1st)
Starters lost: Kent Raymond (23.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 3.3 apg), Andy Wiele (13.8 ppg, 8.7 rpg)
Starters returning: Ben Panner-Sr. (13.0 ppg), Tim McCrary-So. (9.1 ppg, 5.5 rpg), Jake Carwell-Sr. (5.8 ppg, 4.7 rpg)
Top newcomers: Aaron Garriott, G (6-4, So - SIU-Edwardsville)
Projected Starting Lineup (by CCIW time):
G Andrew Jahns (6-2, Jr.)
G Aaron Garriott (6-4, So.)
G Ben Panner (6-3, Sr.)
F Tim McCrary (6-6, So.)
C Jake Carwell (6-7, Sr.)
In my conversation with Ron Rose for this piece, we covered a lot of ground. So as we began to wrap up, I asked him to try to identify a few keys to success for his team in 2009-10.
"The first key is the commitment to becoming a great defensive and rebounding team," he said. "We have to be willing to take pride on that end of the floor and focus on defense and rebounding in every single game. With the shooters and skill players we have, I'm comfortable that we're going to score, but we have to be able to stop people if we're going to accomplish our goals."
"And the second, I'd say, is commitment to roles," said Rose. "In preseason, I've been really pleased with our focus and work ethic, and as roles are being established, the acceptance of those roles and focus on the betterment of the team. If we're willing to do that all season long, I like our chances." He added, "We are a deep team, and sometimes depth can be both a benefit and a curse. The benefit is you can have very competitive practices and you can overcome some injuries. The challenge of depth is that not every player is going to play as much as he'd like. How we handle that situation and how our guys are willing to sacrifice and put the team first will go a long way in determining what kind of season we have."
Before we parted, Rose said, "I like this team. We have a chance to be very good."
So that's the backdrop the 101st season of Illinois Wesleyan men's basketball will be played in front of. A lot of talent...a lot of depth...a lot of potential...and a lot of proving to do. It should be another great ride.
Best of luck to Ron Rose and the Titans!