Season goals in sight

Season goals in sight

by Amy JohnsonStaff Writer

The men’s basketball team has been working hard in the off-season, getting ready for a thrilling upcoming season.

“I’m very excited about our team this year,” Coach Bruce Wilson said. “We have an interesting combination of returning players and a very strong freshman class. It’s been very competitive during the pre-season, looking at the guys competing against each other.”

Assistant coach Charles Zanders likes the idea behind the team’s goals.

“CDTN – Cutting Down The Nets,” Zanders said. “That’s our team goal, and then using it at whatever level, the conference tournament, the NCAA Tournament. Our goal is CDTN.”

Looking at the leadership of the team, the Storm will be led by five returning seniors: forward Andrew Dau, center Tim Dunlavy, forward Peter Jorgensen, guard Kenny Lents and forward Tyson Unkrich.

“At the Iowa Central scrimmage, they got after us in the first half, but as the scrimmage went on we got better and really improved,” Wilson said. “Even in our practices we are improving and getting better. The younger players are getting better and getting positive reps. They’re working really hard.”

The men have set high standards for themselves and their team this year.

“We want to win the conference championship and receive a birth in the NCAA Tournament,” junior center JJ Vanderheiden said.

Wilson has the same mind set.

“Our main goal is to win the Iowa Conference,” Wilson said. “We had a tough year last year. I have a lot of respect for the guys coming back as they’ve worked harder in the off-season than any team I’ve had. They are really being focused on getting the job done this year.”

The incoming freshmen class looks to help with the Storm’s success.

“Our team has very good chemistry, we’re a very tight group,” Wilson said. “Our shooting is definitely going to be a strength. Right now, we’re very confident in that area. We are in very good condition, which is a huge thing too.”

The Storm will have to navigate through some tough conference teams this season, but they have high hopes of being contenders.

“The top three teams last year were pretty senior dominated – Buena Vista, Cornell and Loras,” Wilson said. “Each of those teams had four to five seniors in their starting line ups which will bring them back down to the field. Wartburg and Central will return all five starters so they will be very veteran teams. After that, I think the conference will be wide open. It depends on who can win a couple games and get the momentum going their way.”

Zanders looked at the question a bit differently.

“We need to be mindful of strong teams like Wartburg and Buena Vista,” Zanders said. “Luther has a nice returning group. Most importantly, as much as we’re looking out for them, they better be watching out for us.”

Simpson starts its regular season on Nov. 16 against Augustana in Rock Island, Ill. Home action begins on Nov. 24 against Grand View.