By: Lexi Kantz
This year, both the men’s and women’s basketball programs have added a substantial number of underclassmen to their rosters. With the men signing four freshman and the women bringing in seven, each team has the potential for greater depth on and off the court. Steph Miller, women’s head coach, and Neil Young, new men’s head coach, have each worked hard to recruit players that will continue to build up their programs.
The men’s basketball program has faced significant changes this season, both with the addition of new freshman players as well as with a new head coach. With two of the four first-year players already added to the starting lineup, the team has formed new chemistry and a great work ethic by using their young players to their full potential.
“We came into a new coach, new program and we are already making improvements together. On and off the court we all get along. We are one soul, one heart, one team. A lot of other teams don’t have that,” said Dalton Shetler, a first-year men’s basketball player.
New first-year additions to the men’s program include Billy Geschke from Medina, Ohio, Terry Cook Jr. from Cincinnati, Ohio, Shetler from Spencerville, Ind., and Tre Boyd from Anderson, Ind.
“What we love most about our freshmen is that they are always coming in and getting extra work in on their own; they love to come into practice early to work with us on anything, and they are really trying to focus on getting better in their own time. Those are the players we want to bring in,” said Brandon Lokken, the assistant men’s basketball coach.
The women’s team picked up seven freshmen, a larger group than before, with each playing a different role on the court. Several of these “newbies,” as coach Miller likes to call them, have “added a strong sense of unity” to the team.
“We want to be known for our defense this year. Keeping teams under 60 points is a goal we have. [Other goals include] continually out-rebounding teams and getting better together to be an over .500 team,” said Kelsey Fraley, a first-year women’s basketball player.
New first-year additions to the women’s program include Fraley from Olivet, Mich., Lynnia Noel from Fort Wayne, Ind., Sophia Sears from Paoli, Ind., Calla Bartlett from Byron, Mich., Antianna Terrell from Indianapolis, Ind., and Angela McLean from Palm Bay, Fla.
“The freshman group is critical to our growth and development this season. The sooner we get the ‘newbies’ the minutes of experience they need, the sooner we start jumping up the conference ranks. I’m keeping my eyes on this special group of freshman,” said Miller.
With the additions to both teams contributing in different ways, coaches anticipate great seasons with the freshman pulling their weight and adding depth to each team in different ways.