Men’s basketball prepares for upcoming season


Tess Riecke

Freshman Joshua Lane dodges a jab from a Creighton Bluejay on Friday. The Bluejays downed Wayne State College 93-46 in a men’s exhibition game, played before a crowd of 15,128 at Centur Link Center in Omaha. This was the lone exhibition game for the Bluejays, while WSC is now 1-1 in exhibition games before opening the regular season next Friday evening, Nov. 11, at Missouri Western.

Shawn Henley, Staff Writer

The Wayne State men’s basketball team looks to rebound after a rough 2015 campaign. The team went 5-24 overall and is looking to turn things around under new Head Coach Jeff Kaminsky.
“This is my 32nd year of coaching at the college level,” Kaminsky said. “I started out as a graduate assistant coach at a Division I school (Kent State) in Ohio.”
Kaminsky is the school’s 27th head coach in the programs 102-year existence. He was the head coach at Valley City State University in North Dakota for 11 seasons prior to arriving in Wayne.
His 2015-2016 team had a record of 22-11 and advanced to the second round of the NAIA Division II national tournament. The team finished 21st in the final rankings in the NAIA Division II Top 25 Coaches Poll.
His first head coaching position was at Mid-State Technical College in Wisconsin, where he spent seven years with an overall record of 153-70.
“I always knew I wanted to be a coach,” Kaminsky said. “I knew I was always going to be involved with the sport of basketball so I’ve felt like I’ve never had a real job.”
The men’s basketball program hasn’t recently experienced the once rich pride it had in years past.
“I think it’s a program that has a lot of great history and unfortunately, the recent history hasn’t been as great,” Kaminsky said. “Hopefully we can change the culture and develop an expectation of winning and succeeding. I think we’re off to a good start with the approach that our guys have, so I’m looking forward to try and re-establish the outstanding tradition that has been here at Wayne State.”
The 2015-2016 team was young,out of the 14-man roster, only one graduated.
“It’s an interesting team. We have no seniors so we’re fairly young,” Kaminsky said. “One of the blessings I have is that I’ve inherited a group that was young and maybe not ready to play in this league a year ago.”
The Wildcats went 5-24 overall last season, going 5-9 at home and 0-14 on the road.
“Being more successful on the road would be a really good start in establishing a competitive attitude,” Assistant Coach Nathan Stover said. “The team didn’t win a single game on the road last year; in fact, they were hardly ever in a game on the road last year.”
Stover is in his first year as an assistant coach for the Wildcats. He also comes from Valley City State University in North Dakota, where he was an assistant for 11 years.
The team has competed in three exhibition games so far this year, defeating the WSC Alumni team with a final score of 99-54 and Midland University 70-66. This past Friday evening, the team traveled to Creighton for their last exhibition game, losing 93-46. WSC will face South Dakota State in Brookings on Nov. 16.
“You want to win every game, that’s always a goal,” Stover said. “Realistically, we’re not going to. There’s going to be some teams where we’re over-matched a little bit, so I think there has to be a rise in the level of competitiveness. When a fan comes, and watches us play, they’re seeing a consistent picture of what this program is about.”
Kaminsky is no stranger when it comes to taking over a program that hasn’t seen recent success.
“I’ve always looked forward to challenges,” Kaminsky said. “This is the fourth college program that I’ve taken over and all of them have been similar in that they’ve been in last place the previous season and we’ve been able to achieve a lot of success.”
A top priority of the coaching staff is to improve each day as the season goes along.
“We have to get better,” Kaminsky said. “We’re in a position now where we’re going to compete really well and if we can keep improving, I think we’ll be in a position to win a lot of games. The challenge to keep improving is our biggest focus because if we can continue to get better all the time, that’s going to help us win a lot of games.”
Wayne State opens the 2016-2017 regular season with two games on Friday and Sunday as part of the Hillyard Tip-Off Classic in St. Joseph, Mo. The Wildcats play Missouri Western at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Northwest Missouri State on Sunday at 1:30 p.m. The home opener against Minnesota State will be Dec. 2, at 8 p.m.