Men’s basketball preps for new season

by Dustin Smothers

As fall sports begin to wind down, the basketball team isgearing up for what it hopes will become an eventful andeducational season.

“Every year we want to win the conference, and try to get intothe NCAA Division III Tournament,” head coach Bruce Wilsonsaid.

Wilson is returning for his 20th season at Simpson as thewinningest coach in the college’s history. He comes into thisseason with 282 wins under his belt.

“We have a good core group of guys,” Wilson said. “We’ve got acouple guys returning this year who played varsity last year.”

The men have a strong group of returning letter-winners, butWilson said this will be a year for the team to build for thefuture.

As the only two seniors returning this year, Mike Martin andBrad Allen will be captains and help develop some of the youngerplayers.

“We’re going to put it in their court, and let them direct theteam,” Wilson said of Martin and Allen.

Along with strong leadership from seniors, sophomores RyanHittenmiller and Jason Soppe are returning this season.Hittenmiller posted 238 points last season and Soppe threw up126.

“We are still in the process of trying to figure out who’s goingto be there,” Wilson said. “We’re learning more every day.”

As for freshman coming into the program this year, according toWilson there is some talent joining the team. He said it might takesome time for the freshmen to feel comfortable.

“It’s difficult for freshmen coming into a system, and finding acomfort zone,” Wilson said.

“We’ve got several guys with varsity experience, but we are areally young team,” Soppe said. “It’s going to be about gettingteam chemistry down with a young team.”

Coming off a 16-11 overall record last season, and 11-5 inconference play, the Storm could be in for a rocky start with sucha young team.

“We will have a lot of room for improvement,” Wilson said. “Wemay not start off strong, but when it’s all said and done it shouldbe a good year, it should be a lot of fun.”

“Once the younger guys get through the plays and get past thosefirst few games, the team chemistry will come,” Soppe said.