Published on October 29th, 2012 | by Nicole Kappelman0
Flyers Look to Get Back to the NCAA Tournament
Nicole Kappelman, Contributor
Above photo by Steve Woltmann: Sophomore Ryan Jackson looks to lead the Flyers back to the NCAA Tournament.
Coming off a successful campaign in the 2011-12 season with 17 wins and 12 losses, the Lewis University men’s basketball team has high expectations for this season as well.
Scott Trost will be entering his seventh season as the Flyers’ head coach, along with the aid of assistant coaches Adam DeMong and Neal Young, and volunteer assistant coach Kevin Dix. All three will be coming into their second season with the Flyers.
“We have high expectations for this Program every year,” Trost said. What we want to try and do is get better each and every day and if we do that, then everything else will take care of itself.”
With only one returning senior this year, David Bryant, the young squad that consists of five freshmen and six sophomores will have a lot of pressure on them.
“We lost five seniors off last year’s team,” Trost explained. “We needed to add some size, and I feel that we did that. We are going to be very young on the interior.”
Bryant does not feel any extra pressure being the oldest player, but he likes the idea of being a leader and helping out the freshmen.
“We are a team and we win and lose as one. Everyone on our team is close and it helps with chemistry and on the court,” Bryant said. “I’m just excited that the season has started, and I’m looking forward to our games with this team.”
The five new freshmen to the team are Paul Baumgart, Jared Ellis, Brad Foster, David Heckman and Kyle Nelson. The five all know they need to be ready to go when the season begins.
“Right now, the team really needs the freshmen to step up right away,” said Heckman, a forward. “We want to contribute in any way possible.”
Trost will rely heavily on Bryant this year, as well as junior Nick Valla and sophomores Julian Lewis and Ryan Jackson.
“We will rely on our returners who have the experience,” Trost said. “However, if we are going to be a good team, we need some sophomores and freshmen with little experience to step up and be productive.”
As far as the team strategy goes, though, Trost noted that not much has changed since last season.
“We didn’t really change anything in preparation [for this season],” he said. “As always, we evaluate what we do scheme-wise, but we really haven’t changed much to our game.”
During the offseason, the team got a heavy dose of conditioning. Trost wanted to focus on skill development and their basic offense.
“As a team, we lifted four days a week,” freshman forward David Heckman said. “Then we would have hour-long practices twice a week, followed by individual workouts once a week. Open gym consisted of two days a week, but our team is really good about getting in extra time as well. Guys would get in the gym on their own and lift, play or get extra shots up too.”
With all of their conditioning and hard work, the Flyers opened up their season against the University of Illinois, and will also face Indiana State and DePaul University in two other preseason exhibitions.
“Exhibition games this year are important for us. They give us a chance to evaluate where we are and get our young guys used to the college game,” said Trost.
The Flyers will then open up their regular season with three games on the road at Ferris State, Wayne State and Hillside before returning home to play their first game of the year in the Neil Carney Arena on Nov. 30 when they host Cedarville University.
“I am very passionate about my job here. I expect a lot out of my players, yet I care for them very much. I am looking forward to an exciting season, and we need the student body to get behind this team,” Trost said. “We have a great group of young men that we will go out and play extremely hard each and every game. We need to go out and play hard each and every possession and just have fun.”