(Kip's Corner) BEARCAT HOOP OPENS SEASON IN COLORADO

PUEBLO, CO — Willamette University men’s basketball team opens the season on the road this week, taking on both Colorado College and Colorado State-Pueblo in the Al Kaly Shrine Classic in Pueblo, Colorado.

In a longer than usual opening season road trip, WU will look to build early momentum in what they hope is a rebound season from last year’s 11-14 campaign. The Bearcats will look to gain an early leg up in the NCAA West Region against Colorado College, as the Tigers play an Independent DIII Schedule.

CSU-Pueblo (Saturday’s opponent) is a Division II school, and member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.

BREAKING DOWN THE BEARCATS

This year’s version of Bearcat Hoop features two returning All-NWC selections (John Olinger, CJ Stuvland), as well as a pair of sophomores ready to take on starting roles (Josh Erickson and Ian Mansfield). Coupled with seniors Jason Luchterhand (starting for the first time), Drew Miller, Jacob Baran and Brennan Garrelts, as well as freshman David Fife and junior Robbie Andrus, this year’s roster gives WU a deep blend of experience and youthful enthusiasm. How well it all blends together will ultimately tell the tale of the season.

PROJECTED DEPTH CHART THIS WEEK

PG Josh Erickson Drew Miller
SG John Olinger Robbie Andrus
W CJ Stuvland David Fife
P Ian Mansfield Jacob Baran
P Jason Luchterhand Brennan Garrelts

ROAD WARRIORS

WU has now opened the season on the road the past 7 seasons. In addition, WU plays only 1 home game in their initial 13 outings.

SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS

Colorado College is a NCAA DIII Independent. The Tigers, lead by Head Coach Mike McCubbin, are coming off a 9-16 campaign. CC faces the daunting task of replacing All-West Region choice Mike Reich, who averaged 25 points and 7 rebounds a year ago. The Tigers do return Adam Mares, who posted 10 points and 6 rebounds a year ago.

CSU-Pueblo is an NCAA DII school, and member of the Rocky Mountain Athletic Association. Head Coach Patrick Eberhart’s squad finished 13-14 a year ago, with a 9-6 mark at home. The ThunderWolves return Steve Raquet, who averaged 6 points and 7 rebounds last season.

(Kip Ione is a Bearcat Assistant Coach who writes a weekly news release for Bearcat hoop.)