By: Harry Loomis
With the calendars turning towards October, there are three certainties to look forward to every year: Spooky season, a 30 degree drop in temperature and Griffon basketball being right around the corner.
That’s right; Griffon basketball is just under a month away from starting another season of MIAA play. Every season presents some old faces along with some new ones. This season will be no exception. While familiar faces like Tyrell Carroll, Tyus Millhollin and Sam Siganos are all back for another year, there are eight freshmen that are new to the scene and ready to make an impact.
With players like Lavon Hightower and Bryan Hudson graduating last year, coach Sundance Wicks knows that there will be a lot of minutes up for grabs for his team to compete for.
“We’re looking for the next Bryan Hudson,” Wicks said. “He made himself in the gym the entire summer.”
Hudson went from averaging four points a game to averaging 15 points a game in his senior year. Wicks said he believes players such as Jonathan Mesmacque and Sam Siganos can step up similarly in their junior years based off their experience and knowledge of what it takes to be successful at this level.
Mesmacque says he just wants to improve the team and himself this season.
“I just want to have an impact,” Mesmacque said. “Try to impact the game in a positive manner.”
One player that will surely have an immediate impact this season is Carroll. The sophomore impressed as a true freshman one year ago, averaging 14.3 points and 3.5 assists a game last year and finishing as an All-MIAA honorable mention. Last season, he was the second or third scoring option behind Hightower and Hudson. This season, Caroll will be the go to guy.
Wicks believes that how he gets the rest of team involved will be just as important as his own success.
“When teams key on you, it’s going to allow opportunities for other guys to step up,” Wicks said. “For him it’s about finding his guys in the right spots.”
Carroll agrees that getting his teammates involved is the most important thing.
“I need to know when I need to score and when to get my teammates involved,” Carroll said. “I just want to make my teammates better.”
With a new freshman class – along with redshirts – a lot of players have a chance to step up and make an immediate impact. Wicks expects players like Reese Glover, Ja’Ron Thames and Alex John to be freshmen that can fit that need.
Thames is a player that Wicks has called an NCAA division two version of Magic Johnson.
“He’s a 6’6” guy that can play the point, the four and the wing,” Wicks said. “He’s got excellent court vision and is great at finishing around the rim.”
As for what to expect for this season, Wicks wants the team to succeed in improving every day.
“I always hope the seniors go out better than they started,” Wicks said. “We want to put the program in a position to be great in the future.”
The Griffons will open up their season on Nov. 1 at the Civic Arena in St. Joseph, Missouri, where they will take on Southern Nazarene University. Their first game at Looney Arena will Nov. 17 against Missouri S&T.