Rose Ready to Begin Journey with #2-ranked Titans
2013-14 Preview
November 12, 2013
by Bob Quillman,

(Keith Anderson photo)
1st Team All-CCIW performer, and preseason All-American, Andrew Ziemnik returns for his senior season
Past previews
Setting the Stage
2012-13   2011-12   2010-11   2009-10   2008-09   2007-08   2006-07   2005-06   2004-05   2003-04   2002-03   2001-02   2000-01     
College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin
1. Illinois Wesleyan, 48 (6)
1. Illinois Wesleyan, 13-1
2. Wheaton, 44 (2)
2. North Central, 11-3
3. Augustana, 36
3. Wheaton, 10-4
4. North Central, 30
4. Augustana, 8-6
5. Carthage, 22
5. Carthage, 7-7
6. Millikin, 21
6. Millikin, 4-10
7. Elmhurst, 16
7. Elmhurst, 2-12
8. North Park, 7
8. North Park, 1-13
Final Thoughts

Preseason Photos
(courtesy of Keith Anderson)
Heading into the 2013-14 season, Illinois Wesleyan’s men’s basketball program appears to be on very firm ground.  Under eighth-year head
coach Ron Rose, the Titans have won 20+ games four years in a row, made four consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament (including a Final
Four appearance in 2011-12), and are fresh off the school’s 28th College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin championship.

"One of the attractions to our program has always been being part of a strong winning tradition, and the type of young men and atmosphere that
creates," said Rose.  "The culture within our program has never been better in terms of the quality of young men, the effort they put into both
basketball and the classroom, leadership within every class, and guys looking after each other and caring about each other off the court as well."
The 2012-13 campaign was a special one for Rose and Titans.  Picked second in the CCIW Preseason Coaches’ Poll behind North Central, IWU
rolled to a 13-1 conference finish and CCIW title.  The only blemish on the league record was an overtime loss on the road to eventual Final Four
team North Central.  In the NCAA tournament, the Titans knocked off Transylvania at the Shirk Center, before another classic post-season match
up with Mark Edwards’ Washington University Bears.  In a thrilling game in St. Louis, IWU improved its all-time NCAA tournament against Wash U
to 5-0.  The Titans fell on the road to North Central in the Sweet 16, finishing 2012-13 with a 23-6 record.
"It was really an enjoyable ride and journey," said Rose.  "We started off with a lot of uncertainty, having graduated four strong leaders in John
Koschnitzky, Jordan Zimmer, Eliud Gonzalez, and Stephen Rudnicki - we were replacing our entire perimeter."  He added, "We really liked the
potential of the guys who were going to step in, but there were a lot of questions in terms of what level we could get to.  I was really proud of the
team in how it came together.  We won through toughness and unselfishness and you'd be hard pressed to find a more balanced team than we
were last year - from game to game, different players stepped up into different roles and led.  It was just a really enjoyable team to coach."
Like Rose, most who saw the 2012-13 Titans play described the team as “unselfish”, “deep”, and “balanced."  Six players averaged between 8.8
and 11.0 per game:
In addition to Zimmer, other key contributors for the Titans off the bench were forwards Mike Mayberger (5.8 ppg, 2.5 rpg) and Eric Dortch (4.0
ppg, 3.1 rpg), centers Nick Anderson (3.1 ppg, 2.4 rpg) and Parker Musselman (3.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg), and point guard Bryce Dolan (2.7 ppg).
Welcome Aboard
A relentless recruiter, Ron Rose landed another strong recruiting class in the spring.  The Titan class of 2017 seems to be highlighted by 6-8 F/C
Trevor Seibring (Normal Community) and 6-3 wing Andy Stempel (Stevenson H.S.).
"Trevor is a big, strong, physical post player who does everything you ask him to do, exactly the way you ask him to do it," said Rose.  "Andy can
really shoot it and is really a smart player - he understands the game, he sees the game, and is just a good all-around player."

Rose also added two intriguing upperclassmen.  After not having a Division I transfer for 15 years, IWU added two in six weeks over the summer. 
6-1 guard Jordan Nelson, a former all-stater from Lincoln, announced his transfer from Evansville in July.  6-5 G/F Alex Rossi, who started his
collegiate career at Cal before transferring to Valparaiso, decided to become a Titan in August.  Nelson is dealing with a severly sprained ankle,
suffered in the first practice of the season, but both transfers are expected to make contributions for the Titans in 2013-14.

"You never count on landing a Division I transfer, but when we got word Jordan Nelson was leaving Evansville and might have interest in Illinois
Wesleyan, we were very intrigued," said Rose.  "Jordan is very much an Illinois Wesleyan-type young man and player.  He is just such a terrific
shooter and offensive player that, having seen him in high school, we thought it would be a natural fit.  We also felt, coming back from last year,
there was an opporunity for someone with his ability to really enhance our team - there were times last year we struggled to score.  We were very
excited when Jordan decided to join us."

On Alex Rossi, Rose added, "It was after we got back from Costa Rica in August before we knew Alex was coming to Illinois Wesleyan.  His
friendships with Eric Dortch and one of the captains on the football team, Alex Garvey, were instrumental in steering Alex to Illinois Wesleyan and
our basketball program.  He is another young man that is a natural fit within the culture of our program - he fits the type of young man we like to
recruit.  He is very well-spoken and has a charasmatic personality that people like."

Key Losses
While the Titans return most of their team from that 23-6/13-1 campaign, they did lose seniors Kevin Reed and Dan Oswald.

"We lost great leadership and an incredible example of unselfishness in Dan Oswald," said Rose.  "In Kevin Reed, we lost a guy that helped set a
tone for us.  Kevin got so many big rebounds for us and was just a very unique playmaker from the low post.  You can't just plug somebody else
into Kevin's position and do exactly what we did last year.  We have holes to fill in terms of on-court production and overall leadership and will
really need guys to step into those roles filled by Dan and Kevin."

Big Expectations
With all 2012-13 contributors returning except Reed (graduation) and Musselman (decided to leave the team), and with two Division I transfers,
Ron Rose’s 2013-14 squad isn’t going to sneak up on anybody.  The Titans enter the season ranked #2 in the preseason poll,
behind defending national champion Amherst.  It’s IWU’s highest preseason ranking since landing in the top spot heading into the 2005-06
season - a season that found the Titans in Salem, Virginia in March.
"It's a great honor," said Rose.  "We all work very hard to represent Illinois Wesleyan and put the best team we can on the floor, and run the
highest quality program we're capable of.  To be thought of, going into the season, like this is a terrific honor.  We embrace those high
expectations - we want to be thought of highly nationally."

He continued, "That being said, it's a preseason poll - what really matters is the results on the court.  You have to grind through a season.  There
aren't very many teams that can roll in with high expecations and everything goes perfectly for four months.  You're going to have some adversity
with challenging games and injuries and those types of things.  We're going to have to maneuver our way through a lot of land mines."
In addition to Illinois Wesleyan, two other teams from the powerhouse CCIW also appear in the top 10 -- #5 Wheaton and #6 North Central. 
Augustana received votes and was slotted third in the preseason poll, behind the Titans and Wheaton.
While the top of the CCIW is loaded, the teams predicted to fill the 4-7 spots could be much improved collectively.  Bosko Djurickovic’s Carthage
Red Men get 2011-12 CCIW 1st Teamer Malcom Kelly back.  In Decatur, Matt Nadlehoffer returns his entire 2012-13 nucleus as the Big Blue
rebuilding effort continues.  Elmhurst, with excitement around new head coach John Baines (IWU ’98), has added several intriguing new players. 
North Park's 2013-14 competitive chances were hurt by the departure of 6-8 F/C Mike Gabriel, a former Division I player.
"I am going to sound like a broken record, because I seem to say this every year, but this may be the strongest the league has been since I've
been here," said Rose.  "This year is exceptional with the amount of success teams had last year and then the number of returning players
coming back, as well new additions into the conference.  It's loaded.  The four teams that made the CCIW tournament last year are all going to be
really good and the other four are going to be much improved and competing to make the conference tournament."

Rose added, "Last year I don't think a bottom four team beat a top four team.  This year, I think that is likely to happen."

2013-14 Cast
Information about the cast of characters expected to take the floor this season for the Titans follows.
Varsity Rotation Candidates (as of November 12, 2013)

Point Guard (1)
1. Dylan Overstreet, 6-3/180 Jr. (Paxton, Ill. - Paxton-Buckley-Loda H.S.)  1st Team all-CCIW
Ron Rose:  "Co-captain...coming off a terrific sophomore season...great communicator...developed as quickly as any player I have been around...point guard with good size and very crafty in how he plays...sees the floor exceptionally well...has developed into one of the leaders in our program."

2. Bryce Dolan, 6-0/160 So. (Washington, Mo. - St. Francis Borgia H.S.) 
Ron Rose: "Terrific shooter...good quickness and ball-handling skills...when he gets hot, has the ability to carry an offense."

3. Brian Nelms, 5-11/175 So. (Arlington Heights, Ill. - Rolling Meadows H.S.) 
Ron Rose: "Floor general style point guard...has really gained an understanding of how he needs to play to be successful at the college level and that is bulldog-like of our best on-ball defenders...very quick with the basketball and good leadership ability."

Shooting Guard (2)
1. Pat Sodemann, 6-3/195 Jr. (Chesterfield, Mo. - Parkway West H.S.) 
Ron Rose: "Much more comfortable within our program right an attempt to fit in last year, he worried too much...just is more confident and comfortable in what we're trying to accomplish on the court...quality 3-point shooter with good's son who is a smart player."

2. Alex Rossi, 6-5/200 Jr. (Northfield, Ill. - New Trier H.S.) 
Ron Rose: "Very talented...has fit in easily with our guys...working himself back into basketball shape and learning our system...knock-down shooter but is much more than that...a talented and balanced player."

Guard/Small Forward (3)
1. Andrew Ziemnik, 6-5/220 Sr. (Oswego, Ill. - Oswego H.S.)  1st Team all-CCIW
Ron Rose: "Co-captain...has everybody's respect because of how hard he plays...brings it every practice, every game...a blue collar player with a great skill are always going to get a great effort from Z...lost weight in the off-season and has never moved better...just a tough match-up because of his strength and size and ability to shoot the ball from the perimeter...last year guarded anywhere from the 1 to the 5."

2. Mike Mayberger, 6-6/205 Sr. (Chesterfield, Mo. - St. Louis University H.S.) 
Ron Rose: "The definition of his personal life as well as basketball he's just a young man you can always count on...he's going to show up, give great effort, be unselfish, and be ready to fill any role you ask him to play...always prepared and all about the team...just someone I really trust...has those old man, rec. league smarts about him."

3. Andy Stempel, G/F, 6-3/180 Fr. (Buffalo Grove, Ill. - Stevenson H.S.)
Ron Rose: "High intellect player...sees the floor extremely well...makes the right basketball play...known for his shooting ability but also can put the ball on the floor...he is going to be a great leader someday."

Power Forward (4)
1. Victor Davis, 6-5/235 Sr. (Galesburg, Ill. - Galesburg H.S.) 
Ron Rose: "Fourth year varsity player...has improved every year...has an infectious enthusiasm for the game and going to give you everything he has physically every outing...has a physical presence about him...has really developed into a strong scorer in the post with multiple moves, but still about to step out and shoot the ball from the perimeter...has developed the ability to get the tough rebound."

2. Eric Dortch, 6-4/210 Sr. (Evanston, Ill. - Evanston Township H.S.) 
Ron Rose: "Terrific athlete...our best on-ball defender...can guard 1-4 effectively...can change the game on the defensive end...found his niche on the offensive end last year...looking for him to be more consistent this a guy that can make things happen on the floor."

3. Ryan Coyle, 6-6/208 So. (Lisle, Ill. - St. Francis H.S.) 
Ron Rose: "Made huge strides since last year...acclimated himself to the physical game...has had a great preseason and is playing with a lot of confidence...has that versatility to play either the 3 or 4 and we're playing him at the 4 right now."

Forward/Center (5)
1. Nick Anderson, 6-10/230 Sr. (Edwardsville, Ill. - Edwardsville H.S.) 
Ron Rose: "Has improved every year...bigger and stronger...incredibly smart on and off the court...with his size and length, can be a big factor on both ends of the floor...has a soft touch around the basket...has had a really good preseason."

2. Trevor Seibring, 6-8/235 Fr. (Towanda, Ill. - Normal Community H.S.) 
Ron Rose: "Brings a physical aspect to his game...isn't afraid to put his body on people...plays as hard as he can and does everything the coaches ask..doesn't step out of his lane and do things he is not capable of...does all those little things that help you become a better basketball team."

Injured Varsity Rotation Candidates

Injury/Status: Severe ankle sprain/targeted return - late-December
Ron Rose: "Explosive offensive player...can really shoot the ball with range, but can also put it on the floor...capable of playing either guard position...knows how to win from his Lincoln roots."

Injury/Status: Ongoing back problems/targeted return - day-to-day, early-December
Ron Rose: "High character young man that has meant a lot to this program...the epitomy of a team player...trying to get him healthy enough to be a contributor on the court...did an amazing job last year of producing when called on with limited practice time...has shown when healthy is one of the better guards in the league."

Injury/Status: Knee tendonitis, bone chip in knee tendon, blood clot post-surgery/targeted return - January 1
Ron Rose: "High motor, mobile, aggressive post player...terrific low post defender...natural rebounder with a nose for the ball...strong offensive skill set, can score inside and step up and shoot the ball from the perimeter...when healthy, really runs the floor well."

Junior Varsity Rotation Candidates

(listed alphabetically)

Perimeter (1/2/3)

Ron Rose: "Talented offensive player...can score the basketball in a variety of ways...has to improve on the defensive end."

Ron Rose: "Unassuming, quiet young man but very competitive...can really shoot the basketball...has a smooth left-handed jumpshot...just a very solid, smart player."

Ron Rose: "A workhorse...came in as a walk-on with no expectations and has earned everybody's respect with his work ethic, as well as being as good of a teamate as you'd ever ask for...pre-med, straight A...he's a guy you want operating on you someday if you need some type of procedure...dominates strength and conditioning stuff...great on-ball defender...tenacious mindset to how he plays the game."

Ron Rose: "Family connection to the Titan program...hard worker...loves to play."

Ron Rose: "Strong character kid...always plays hard and knows how to win."

Ron Rose: "Understands the climate and culture of Wesleyan basketball as well as anybody...good athlete...long defender with strong ball-handling skills."

Ron Rose: "Quick first step...bouncy...great ability to get to the lane on the offensive end...adjusting to college basketball right now."

Post (4/5)

Ron Rose: "Skilled 4-man who can score from the outside and is learning the physical play at the college level."

Ron Rose: "Out 3-4 weeks with injury...has struggled through injuries but is a true gym rat who loves to tremendously hard at a long, skilled player with the ability to block shots."

Ron Rose: "Quiet, unassuming guy who goes about his business...can shoot the 3 with range and has a number of post moves inside...still acclimating to the physical play...sometimes lights up the varsity and no one can stop him."

Ron Rose: "Terrific height and a sponge in terms of learning the game...needs to put on weight and strength to develop into a varsity player."





























D III Sweet 16:
















D III Final 4:






When asked for the keys to the 105th season of Illinois Wesleyan Titans men's basketball, Ron Rose spoke exclusively about his 6-man senior class.

"Going into the year as a coach, you have to feel great about the senior leadership you're going to get from this high-character group of guys who have been part of three really good teams already," said Rose.  "They understand what it takes to play at the highest level of Division III.  They are motivated."

Rose continued, "I am firm believer that a team only cares as much as its seniors, and this group of seniors really cares.  They are all about the team.  I don't worry in the least bit about these guys being consumed with what they can do individually.  They care about the program.  They understand the window of time they have and the legacy they can pass on to the younger guys in the program.  From a coaching standpoint this is a luxury to coach a class like this.

With the Titans just days away from tipping 2013-14 off at home against Manchester, it's clear Rose is ready to get started.

"Every year is different," said Rose.  "To meet some of the lofty expectations, we are going to have to be very good.  Good fortune also always plays a role in terms of health and getting a few bounces.  But I do believe this team will be a team that is fun to watch play and is easy to cheer for because of the approach.  I'm anxious to see where the journey takes us."

Good luck on that journey, Titans!
Senior class, from left - Mike Mayberger, Victor Davis, Nick Anderson, Eric Dortch, Andrew Ziemnik, Brady Zimmer
(Keith Anderson photo)
Point guard Dylan Overstreet
Shooting guard Pat Sodemann
Forward Andrew Ziemnik
Forward Victor Davis
Center Nick Anderson
Wing Mike Mayberger
Wing Alex Rossi
Forward Eric Dortch
Point guard Bryce Dolan
Class of '88 point guard Ron Rose
Point guard Brian Nelms