Filed under Men's Basketball

Men’s basketball starting to rebuild

Men’s basketball starting to rebuild

Rocky Robinson

Kaleb Wright, senior guard, drives the ball past the Bethel defense in the Hornets’ last preseason game last November. Wright has been averaging 25 points per game as the leading scorer all season.

Due to a dynamite season from the Lady Hornets’ basketball team, one might overlook the success the men’s squad is having. They won four out of their last five games, are 12-6 in the season and 5-3 in the MIAA.

What would seem like a decent season to most is far from modest for the Hornets, considering that only two seasons ago they were 9-18 on the year and cellar dwellers in the MIAA.

In his third season, Shaun Vandiver, head coach has finally found the type of players he wants and the program looks to be on the rise. This was evident in their last three games, which include an 87-80 win over Missouri Western, a 95-77 win over #24 ranked Central Missouri and an 83-75 victory over Pittsburg State.

One major key to the Hornets’ recent success is Kaleb Wright, who is a 6’4” senior guard who averaged 25 points per game and has been the leading scorer in the last three games snagging a season high of 33 points in the upset over UCM.

“We need to work on finishing games and not just be content with having a lead,” Wright, a health promotions major, said. “Watching tons of film, executing our plays, and not taking plays off.”

Another strong attribute has been that the Hornets have shot over 50 percent from the floor in all three wins, including a .611 shooting percentage in the win over UCM. Another big key for their success is their ability to rebound the ball. The Hornets have averaged 37 rebounds per game over the last three games.

One of the Hornets’ best rebounders is Gavin Brown, senior forward. The Junction City native has had 43 rebounds in the last three games – an average of nearly 15 per game, including a season-high 17 rebounds in the win over Missouri Western.

“I feel that we are playing more as a team,” Brown, a criminal justice and delinquencies major, said. “You can see we are getting more paint touches and getting better ball movement. Guys are also knocking down shots but I feel we need to work more on rebounding.”

The Hornets have also been seeing great numbers from the bench. They are a deep team that has several guys who can produce as subs. One of those players is Nick Mayes, junior forward, who made his first start this season.

“The biggest key to our success so far is we work as a team,” Mayes, a chemistry and engineering major, said.

Whether it be the bench production, rebounding or field goal percentage, one thing is clear. The days of the Hornets being an MIAA doormat are nearly over.

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