2016-17 IWUhoops.com Season Preview

November 11, 2016

by Bob Quillman, IWUhoops.com
Rose Ready to Take the Floor with Hard-Working Titans
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6-8 Trevor Seibring averaged 14.2 ppg and 6.1 rpg as a junior
Past IWUhoops.com Season Previews:
2015-16    2014-15    2013-14    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 
Varsity Rotation Candidates:
(listed in order of IWUhoops.com's projection of depth chart position)

PG (1)

1. Brady Rose, 6-3/185 Jr.

2. Nick Coleman, 6-1/175, So.

3. Derrick Streety, 5-11/160 Jr.

Injured - Mark Falotico (concussion), 6-1/185 So.

SG (2)

1. Colin Bonnett, 6-4/200 So.

T2. Austin Amann, 6-3/180 Sr.

T2. Jason Gregoire, 6-4/205 So.

G/F (3)

1. Andy Stempel, 6-4/195 Sr. 

2. Miles Curry, 6-6/195 Fr.

Injured - Ben Sestak (knee), 6-5/185 So.

PF (4)

1. Jaylen Beasley, 6-6/185 Jr.

2. Alec Bausch, 6-6/210 Sr.

3. Brice Robinson, 6-7/200 Fr.

F/C (5)

1. Trevor Seibring, 6-8/235 Sr.

2. Tyler Burdine, 6-9/235 Jr.

3. Danny Baker, 6-5/220 So.

IWUhoops.com's Projected Varsity Rotation (start of the season)
Junior Varsity Rotation Candidates:
(Listed alphabetically; some of the players listed above who don't make the varsity rotation will play JV.)

Perimeter (1/2/3)

Bernie Coderre, 6-3/185 Fr.

Daniel Hoekstra, 6-4/190 Fr.

Tishon Pollard, 6-1/150 Fr.

Post (4/5)

Hayden Monix, 6-7/240 Fr.

Ethan Pogge, 6-7/220 Fr.

Setting the Stage:

Getting Started

Like every college basketball coach in America, Illinois Wesleyan's Ron Rose is ready to get the 2016-17 season started.

"I'm really pleased with the progress we've made since October 16th," said Rose about his 11th preseason as head coach of his alma mater.  "We have a really hard-working group here and I'm ready to find out what we have."

The Titans got a head-start on 2016-17 thanks to a 10-day trip to Spain in August where they played 4 games against foreign competition. 

"In those 10 practices and 4 games you've got time to review what you do as well as experiment with things," Rose said. "It gives you a clearer picture of exactly where you want to start and how you want to play.  It's really a great opportunity."

Per NCAA rules, only returning players are eligibile to participate in off-season trips.  According to Rose, this creates a bit of a challenge when it comes to blending in newcomers once practice starts.

"The tough part of any new season is always getting returning players on the same page as newcomers," said Rose.  "That gap automatically starts wider in years you are coming off a foreign trip.  On the first day of practice, our returning guys were ready to start where we finished in August, but in order for the team to develop you really need to start from the beginning.  So that is what we did this year - we started at the beginning like every year." 

Rose added, "A few weeks in now, our newcomers have a feel for how we do things and we can really starting growing faster as a team moving forward.  I'm excited about our progress."

Looking Back

After 6 consecutive 20-win seasons and NCAA appearances, the Titans struggled to a 13-13 overall, 7-7 CCIW finish in 2015-16.

"It was not the season we hoped for or expected," said Rose. "With all of the injuries that occurred it was very challenging because after each injury we had to keep reinventing oursevles and how we wanted to play.  We also just simply did not play well at times." 

Illinois Wesleyan lost 6-8 F/C Mike Marietti, 6-3 G Brady Rose, and 6-5 F Ryan Coyle for significant stretches.

"I will say this, I am proud that we never cashed it in," said Rose. "We played our best basketball at the very end of the season as we were fighting to stay alive, and that is attributable to the character of six oustanding seniors."

The Titans graduated Brian Nelms, Joel Pennington, Mike Marietti, Rob Mahlke, Ryan Coyle, and Bryce Dolan.

"Those six guys all finished between a 3.25 and 3.85 GPA," said Rose. "They all have terrific jobs that they are doing well in.  So there are different ways to evaluate your program each year and there were really a lot of positives for us last season."

The Titans will especially miss the production from Dolan (13.3 ppg, 3.2 apg, .440 3-point), Pennington (9.8 ppg, 2.8 apg, .449 3-point), and Coyle (8.0 ppg, 5.2 rpg), who played key roles in 2015-16.

New Leadership

Rose is still evaluating what he has in his 2016-17 squad, but an identity is starting to emerge.

"I know this is going to be a hard-working group, just based on their interest in the process and their motivation in the off-season," he said.  "The culture in the weight room in the off-season was great, the chemistry that has been developed is impressive, and I can tell you that this group is hungry to achieve.  We also have strong leaders."

Illinois Wesleyan will lean heavily on its 4 seniors for leadership, starting with 6-8 F/C Trevor Seibring (14.2 ppg, 6.1 rpg, .611 FG) and 6-4 G/F Andy Stempel (9.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg).

"The team voted Andy Stempel and Trevor Seibring captains for this season," said Rose. "Those guys will be terrific leaders.  Trev leads most often by example in just being that steady force that works his tail off every day.  When Trevor speaks, guys listen.  Andy is a little more vocal and is an uplifting leader."

Alec Bausch (6.6 ppg, 5.3 rpg. 575 FG), a 6-6 PF, will be an important part of IWU's rotation for the third consecutive season.  6-3 Austin Amann, a skilled perimeter player, is in the mix to help off the bench.   

"Alec Bausch is very charasmatic and energetic," said Rose. "Austin Amann is a guy that is just a rock and the consumate team player."

Stepping Up

Rose expects progression from a number of players from his 2015-16 squad.

"Colin Bonnett (5.7 ppg, 2.2 rpg) really had a great off-season," he said of the 6-4 sophomore guard.  "He changed his body and will have a more prominent role on the team this year. 

Lost to a stress fracture in his foot during the non-conference season last year, the Titans will get 6-3 junior Brady Rose (10.5 ppg, 3.7 apg) back on the floor in 2016-17.  "Brady is healthy and really worked hard in the off-season," said his father.  "It will be nice to get his scoring and perimeter defense back in there."

Many around the program are excited about the potential of talented 6-1 PG Nick Coleman"Nick was a leader on the JV team last year and had a great off-season," said Rose.  "He has put on about 15 pounds of muscle from his freshman year.  He is a kid that brings a lot of court savvy." 

6-4 guard Jason Gregoire entered the preseason as a probable JV player but has emered as a varsity rotation candidate. "Jason has had a terrific few weeks and is really coming on," said Rose.

In the post, 6-6 Bloomington H.S. product Jaylen Beasley (4.1 ppg, 2.6 rpg), a junior, is expected to play a big role for the Titans. "Jaylen has gotten a lot stronger," said Rose. "We really need him to be a consistent contributor." 

Rose is looking forward to getting PG Mark Falotico (3.1 ppg) back from a preseason concussion. "Mark got his feet wet last year and we'd like to get him back on the floor," he said. "He is a very talented guard that can help us win games."

Junior Derrick Streety is also in the mix for time at the PG position. "Derrick is much more comfortable this year," said Rose. "He is clearly our quickest player and a strong perimeter defender."


"We really like the freshman class -- it has size and athleticism," said Rose. "The freshmen have really impressed the coaching staff with their work ethic and their basketball intelligence."

When asked which freshmen are the closest to varsity playing time, Rose pointed to two.

"Miles Curry is a 6-6 wing, " said Rose.  "The thing that jumps out is his athleticism.  When Miles gets comfortable with the system and more understanding of how we play, he will have a chance to be a big impact player here."

6-7 PF Brice Robinson has also impressed. "Brice has made great progress in 3 weeks," said Rose. "He has a natural ability to score the ball and is very competitive."

In 6-9 F/C Tyler Burdine (Lincoln Land CC), Illinois Wesleyan has a rare junior college transfer.  The Williamsille H.S. product is the lead candidate to back up Trevor Seibring at the 5. "Tyler brings great size and is also very mobile," said Rose. "He has a chance to help us right away."

College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin

With Carroll University rejoining the league, CCIW teams have 2 more conference games (2 less non-conference games) and a very different schedule.

"I loved the old schedule where you had 11 non-conference games before Christmas to figure yourself out," said Rose "We don't have that luxury anymore so it is going to be a different challenge.  We play 3 conference games before Christmas, including December 3rd at league favorite North Central." 

"The coaching staff will have to make decisions earlier," Rose added.  "In the past you could experiment more in preparation for the league schedule.  We will need to be ready to go earlier this year." 

The CCIW was recently rated as the toughest conference in NCAA Division III by D3hoops.com.  Rose expects 2016-17 to be as competitive as ever.

"Last year we had some senior-dominated teams, like Augustana and Elmhurst," said Rose.  "There is going to be a turnover of talent with many teams this year, but there is never a down year in the CCIW and I expect it to be great again."

"It starts with North Central, picked to win it with 4 starters back and 2 all-conference players," said Rose.  "Augustana lost a ton but all of their backups return and they have some key newcomers." 

Rose pointed to North Park's placement in the CCIW Preseason Coaches Poll as in indicator of league strength.  "I mean, they have two preseason All-Americans (Juwan Henry and Jordan Robinson) and they're picked 4th," Rose said, laughing.  "What other league has that?"

"Carroll is a little bit of an unknown for me right now, but I know they had an outstanding season last year," said Rose. "And I know they're excited at Millikin, Elmhurst, Carthage, and Wheaton too - every team in the league has returning players and newcomers they are excited about."

In concluding his thoughts on the 2016-17 CCIW picture, Rose said, "One of the things that makes our league great is the coaches.  There are just a number of outstanding coaches who work very hard at their job and you've got to be prepared every night out."


Final Thoughts:

Ron Rose's Titans have averaged an impressive 77.4 points per game over the course of the last 5 seasons.  The head coach expects his team to be able to put the ball in the basket again in 2016-17.

"Our strength is that we have some big, strong guards, physical post players, great balance, and high character guys who are unselfish," said Rose.  "I feel very good about being able to score the ball.  We will not have to rely on one guy or two guys to carry the load every night.  The story line can be different guys stepping up for us."

According to Rose, the Titans' 2016-17 fortunes hinge on the other end of the floor.  "The big part of the season is going to come down to how we defend," he Rose.  "If we are able to form a strong defensive identify we could have a tremendous season."

During the 13-13/7-7 campaign last year, Illinois Wesleyan allowed 76.7 points per game.  This was the highest opponent scoring average against the Titans since 2008-09 (74.6 ppg), when the Titans finished 13-12/5-9.  IWU held opponents under 70.0 points per game on average in each of the six seasons in-between, a stretch in which the Titans won 20 or more games and made the NCAA tournament every year.

"I like our commitment to the defensive end so far," said Rose.  "This group wants to get stops and be strong defensively.  These guys take pride in that end of the floor."

With many unknowns heading into a new season, Rose is clearly comfortable with his 2016-17 team's work ethic.

"Some teams like playing basketball, and some teams like to work at it," said Rose.  "This is a team that likes to work at it.  That usually leads to good things." 

Illinois Wesleyan opens the season November 15 at home against Dominican.  Best of luck to Ron Rose and the Titans in 2016-17!

6-4 Andy Stempel averaged 9.7 ppg, 3.4 rpg, 2.6 apg as junior
A healthy Brady Rose returns to the lineup in 2016-17
6-6 Jaylen Beasley will figure heavily into IWU's post rotation
6-3 G Colin Bonnett started IWU's final 8 games as a freshman
High-flying Miles Curry, a 6-6 G/F, could see the floor as a freshman

The '16-17 Preview is dedicated to the memories of Edgar Samuel Alsene and Lanny R. Lobdell - two great Titans who are missed.
Brady Rose, 6-3 Jr.
Nick Coleman, 6-1 So.
Derrick Streety, 5-11 Jr.
Colin Bonnett, 6-4 So.
Brady Rose, 6-3 Jr.

Austin Amann, 6-3 Sr.
Mark Falotico, 6-1 So.
Andy Stempel, 6-4 Sr.
Colin Bonnett, 6-4 So.

Jason Gregoire, 6-4 So.
Miles Curry, 6-6 Fr.
Jaylen Beasley, 6-6 Jr.
Alec Bausch, 6-6 Sr.
Brice Robinson, 6-7 Fr.
Trevor Seibring, 6-8 Sr.
Tyler Burdine, 6-9 Jr.
Danny Baker, 6-5 So.