Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Founded 1901

Royal Purple

Men’s Basketball: Miller’s men ranked No. 4 nationally

Dec. 4

By Daniel Schoettler

Last year, the Warhawks men’s basketball team finished 24-5 with a second-place finish in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference. It also won its conference tournament last year, but its championship run ended with a second-round exit in the NCAA Tournament.

The Warhawks have depth on the roster, but the biggest question will be post play with the loss of WIAC Honorable Mention Darnell Harris on the front line.

Senior Reggie Hearn will have the tough task of replacing Harris in the lineup. Hearn averaged 3.7 points per game and 2.6 rebounds per game last season.

Reggie Hearn

“I’m going to come in and take it day by day,” Hearn said. “Whatever the team or the coaching staff needs me to do and be a team role model.”

Head coach Pat Miller said Hearn played well for them last year, but had an injury last year that hurt the team’s front line.

Look for Junior K.J. Evans to make an impact as well, currently averaging a team-leading 17.5 points per contest so far this season. Evans averaged 8.8 points per game for the ’Hawks last season and is starting at power forward.

“K.J. has had a really good fall,” Miller said. “He’s put on some weight and gotten stronger, and we’ve been happy with those two guys [Hearn and Evans].”

As for the rest of the frontline depth, look for Steve Egan, Jack Herum, Miles Chamberlain and Terrance Bradley to have an impact off the bench. Terrance Bradley transferred from MATC and will give the Warhawks some size with his 6-foot-8-inch frame.

“I think the lack of depth on the frontline is going to be our issue,” Miller said. “Steve Egan had played well, and we need some of our newcomers to step up. It would be great to get Miles Chamberlain healthy. He was out with an ACL last year and has had some issues with the swelling and the residual effects from that injury.”

Last year, the ’Hawks didn’t rebound well, and Miller believes it could remain an issue this year.  The Warhawks had 930 total rebounds and averaged 32.1 per game last year, and the departed Harris had 171 of those rebounds.

Quardell Young

“Rebounding will be key for us,” junior guard Quardell Young said. “We’re definitely decreasing in size by the year, and it’s just going to take a toll on us, and collectively, we’ll have to team rebound.”

The team has great depth at the guard and small forward spots this year. They’ll be led by Young and junior Cody Odegaard, and seniors Alex Merg, Eric Bryson and Patrick Souter.

Miller said the ’Hawks have guards with different skill sets. Young is a great penetrator and gets to the basket to create for other people.

Young led the team with 11.9 points per game, 3.7 assists per game as well as 1.8 steals per game. Odegaard is a great knock down shooter. Merg and Souter can do both. The ’Hawks also have Bryson, who is a great rebounder from the guard spot, good defender and can knock down shots.

“I feel we will be competitive as always,” Young said. “As of now, we are more focused on the defensive standpoint than offense because we have depth, and most of the players on our team can score. We’re not really worried about the productivity on the offensive end.”

Harris wasn’t the only man to leave the program. Assistant coach Lou Chapman left the program as well, and Miller replaced him with a two-time National Champion and a coach with great coaching genes in Nick Bennett.

Bennett played on two National Championship-winning teams at UW-Stevens Point in 2004 and 2005 under his father, Jack Bennett. His uncle, Dick Bennett, who many Badgers fans can remember, coached at Wisconsin after previous stops at UW-Stevens Point and UW-Green Bay.

His cousin, Tony, is the head coach at the University of Virginia. Nick Bennett coached under Tom Crean at Marquette, and has also had stops at Florida Gulf Coast and Texas Pan American.
“He’s been great,” Miller said. “He brings a lot of experience, not only from his days at Stevens Point playing for his father, but he was also at Florida Gulf Coast and Texas Pan American.”

The ’Hawks hit the road in its next game as the team takes on the UW-Stout Blue Devils in its first WIAC game of the season. The game is slated for a 3 p.m. start on Saturday in Menomonie.

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Founded 1901
Men’s Basketball: Miller’s men ranked No. 4 nationally