WAYNE – Team members with Wayne State College men’s basketball are opening their first official practice Friday with the start of the season just over a month away.
As winter sports begin amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, the Wildcat men’s basketball team has had a lengthy preseason during their eight hours a week mode either on the court or in the weight room.
Jeff Kaminsky is entering his fifth season leading the Wildcat men’s basketball team. He said the team is looking forward to extending their practices starting Friday.
“We’ve had a chance to develop a little bit more in the weight room,” said Kaminsky. “Spent a little bit more time in there than we typically do in the preseason. Usually you’re looking at about a two month preparedness to get ready to start playing games when you start the year and of course that’s really been extended to four months.”
Wayne State College ended the 2019-20 season with records of 10-22 overall and sixth place in the NSIC South Division with a 7-15 league mark.
The men’s scrimmage was held on November 10 at Rice Auditorium and was closed to the public. Team Black trailed by as many as 10 points but held a 29-28 lead at half. Team White came out on top in the second half with a 68-65 victory.
Coach Kaminsky added the team is excited to play.
“I think as most college athletes and coaches are optimistic about trying to get some sort of a season in,” Kaminsky added. “I know that we’ve got a really good mix of guys in terms of some returning guys mixed in with a really outstanding recruiting class.”
Nathan Stover will be in his fifth year as an assistant coach while Tanner Cooke will serve as the coaching assistant and is in his sixth season with the program.
WSC will return two of their top three scorers from last year’s team being junior Jordan Janssen who averaged 16.9 points per game and grabbed a team-high 10.1 boards per game along with junior Nate Mohr who brings back 11.8 ppg.
Janssen also led the team in made free throws (150-209), assists with 120, blocks with 42 and steals with 37. Mohr paced WSC in made three’s (69-183). WSC will also return another shot-blocker being senior Ben Dentlinger who had 40 blocks last year and was fifth on the team in scoring with 6.8 ppg.
The Wildcats will be replacing six players with nine new faces being freshmen Alex Millender, Sean Stokes, Karter Lein, Jay Saunders, Shea Sweetland of Wayne, Noah Erickson, Zach LaFave and Cody McCullough as well as redshirt freshman Justin Eagins.
With the blanket waiver being passed by the NCAA to allow for another season of eligibility to winter sport athletes it will have an impact on the recruiting down the road. Coach Kaminsky mentioned it’ll complicate things a bit.
“I think the biggest thing for us is not so much to focus on numbers or depth this year with our recruiting class,” Kaminsky mentioned. “But really try to add a couple of the right guys that are going to really mix in well with our current freshman class.”
Coach Kaminsky said the team is testing every week and is hoping to have all 15 guys remain healthy.
“Then have a really intense three-week period to get ourselves ready to play,” said Kaminsky. “It’ll be unique in that we won’t have any classes so we can really have a complete focus on basketball and getting ourselves ready.”
The Wildcat men’s basketball team is scheduled to join the women’s team on Saturday, January 2 and Sunday, January 3 hosting Northern State University.
Other games currently on the schedule include a home doubleheader against Concordia-St. Paul on January 8-9; at Minnesota State-Mankato on January 15-16; vs. Upper Iowa on January 22-23; at Winona State on January 29-30; at Sioux Falls on February 5-6; vs. Southwest Minnesota State on February 12-13 and at Augustana on February 19-20.