2006-07 Men's Basketball Season Outlook
Oct. 25, 2006
Bellingham, Wash. - Look around the
But there's history of Western going through this process before with success. Five of the seniors on the 2005-06 team were freshmen in 2002-03. They went 88-35 over their four seasons, and made two trips to the West Regional. That group was 16-11 in its first season.
And there's also experience from a head coach who has seen these things play out before.
"We go from a team that was exceptional and with players in the program a long time to a team that really is almost totally new," said
The status of the returning player who saw the most minutes last season remains in doubt. Junior 6-5 forward Brett Weisner (Spokane/Shadle Park) was Western's top scoring reserve, averaging 4.9 points a game, but is still recovering from a knee injury suffered in the spring. It isn't clear when he'll be back.
"It's unfortunate for Brett, but he's been highly motivated and his rehab has gone exceptionally well. He'd us a bigger guy who can shoot well, and he plays with incredible competitiveness."
Weisner's absence makes senior 6-7 post Lukas Henne (Bremerton/Central Kitsap) by far the most experienced returnee. A three-year letter winner, he has played in all but two games over the last three seasons, scoring in double figures 10 times and blocking two or more shots in 21 games. He averaged 3.3 points and 2.0 rebounds in 10.5 minutes a game last season.
"Lukas has played a lot of different roles in his time here, now he's going to be a guy we look to as a major player,"
"I think what sticks out about Ira is how he's grown and matured personally," said
Two 6-7 sophomore post players figure to see expanded roles after seeing limited action last season. Forward Calin Schell (Chelan), who can also swing out to a perimeter position, played in 13 games last year. Forward David Brittinen saw action in five contests.
"Calin is a natural leader,"
"Some people have a tendency to sell David Brittinen short because he's a little undersized, but he has excellent timing and he jumps well. David is very mentally tough, and he has good athletic ability. He's worked hard the last couple years."
After those five players, the team is entirely new.
In the frontcourt, the newcomers are two freshmen - 6-10 center Steve Severin (Richland/Hanford) and 6-8 forward GabeThrash (
Severin averaged 12.3 points, 10.0 rebounds and 6.8 blocks in earning first-team all-Mid Valley League honors as a high school senior. He set school records for blocked shots in a game (11), season (157) and career (265).
Thrash, who didn't start playing basketball until his sophomore year of high school, averaged 8.0 points and 12.0 rebounds as a senior.
"We have two young big guys who are both very eager and very athletic,"
There's also a large group of new players on the perimeter. Two of them are transfers - junior 6-2 guard Eddie Coulson (
Coulson averaged 19.0 points a game last season at
The other two key newcomers are freshmen - 6-4 guard Brandon Williams (
"Those four bring us a lot of speed and quickness," said
Completing the roster are junior 6-2 guard Greg Meier (Chelan), who played at Whatcom CC last year; junior 6-2 guard Jason Pegues (Seattle/Cleveland), a transfer from Edmonds CC; and freshman 6-4 forward Jerad Groth (Yakima/Eisenhower).
"I like the players we've recruited," said
Western's schedule is never easy with the GNAC being a rugged conference in both travel and competition. Three conference schools have reached the national semifinals in the last six years.
The Vikings open the season with 11 straight non-conference games, seven of them at home. There's also tournaments in
"We realize there will probably be some ups and downs, but you hope the young guys mature quickly," said
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