Mon, Nov. 16, 2009 - [Men's Basketball]
On November 16, the Duhawks will begin season number three under head coach Greg Gorton. Significant losses to graduation mean significant opportunities to fill roles, and Gorton has been clear this preseason about how this Loras team will take the floor on game night.
"This team will not have one or two stars, we will have 10 to 12," Gorton said this week. "We're always looking for balance on both ends of the floor, and we'll always work for that. This year, we'll be doing it with maybe more guys than in the past, but they've all been working very hard to get on the floor. It will be fun to watch the acceptance of roles and the commitment to the greater good."
Just how great that "greater good" will turn out to be in the win-loss column will largely be determined by how this team grows from the loaded non-conference slate to the annually grueling Iowa Conference schedule. That begins with a solid Edgewood team on opening night and is followed by four additional teams picked to win their leagues, including Wheaton College (home), UW-Whitewater (away), and Aurora University (neutral) in November as well as Calvin (neutral).
The Duhawks said goodbye to the back court trio of Jake Oeth, Brian Centella, and Ricky Kolze, who combined to average 41.7 points per game for the 16-11, 10-6 Duhawks a year ago. An additional ten points are missing in the form of Rex Parker and Matt Seaquist. So the Duhawks will turn to Jason Abbuhl, Alex Brant (each averaged nearly 20 minutes per game in 08-09), and point guard John Johann (appeared in all 27 games off the bench a year ago, eight minutes per game)- the seniors on the roster- to help direct traffic on the floor and the youth in the locker room. The then-junior trio combined for 12 points per game last year (took an average of nine shots per game) and proudly partner that number with an impressive 3.78 GPA.
The preseason is now nearly a month old, and the first test is now only days away. According to Gorton, the biggest question to answer isn't necessarily ‘Who will fill up the stats sheet?' but rather ‘How will we respond as a group to the different situations we're in on game night?'.
"We want to know what kind of a team we are as soon as we possibly can," Gorton stressed.
The Iowa Conference preseason coaches' poll, which came out earlier this week, has the Duhawks tabbed as the kind of team that will finish somewhere in the middle part of the league.
"Our guys will use that as motivation, knowing that they will have to compete nightly to get to where they want to be at the end of the year in the conference," Gorton said.
The IIAC title journey begins December 2, blocks away at the University of Dubuque.