Men’s basketball plans to increase win total

Austin Svehla, Staff Writer

WSC men’s basketball returns three starters and six letter winners from last year’s 14-17 squad and is picked to finish 12th in the NSIC (7th NSIC South) by the NSIC Men’s Basketball Preseason Coaches Poll. One week of practice is complete as the Wildcats prepare for the battles the 2018 season is set to provide. Head coach Jeff Kaminsky is in his 3rd year at Wayne State, and after taking over a five-win program, Kaminsky guided the Wildcats to 10 wins in his first season and 14 in his second year.

“We just really need to continue moving the program forward,” Kaminsky said. “We expect to continue to build on that upward trend.”

Kaminsky’s squad will continue scrimmages throughout practice where he hopes he will continue to see strides from his team.

“The biggest thing for us early in the year is to really establish our defensive principles,” Kminsky said. “Not only defensive principles but putting in a new offense; everything takes a little longer when you have such a new group of guys.”

The Wildcats have 13 men on this year’s roster and are led by three seniors: Kendall Jacks, Trevin Joseph Jr., and Vance Janssen. Jacks, who was selected as Wayne State’s player to watch in the NSIC this season, appeared in all 31 games last season, started 30, and averaged 13.7 points and 4.9 rebounds per game. Joseph Jr. appeared in every game last season, starting at guard in five of those. He averaged 13.5 points per game last year and led the team in three pointers made (48). Janssen also appeared in every game last season and started 30 at guard. He averaged 9.4 points and 3.1 rebounds per game and led the team in threepoint field goal percentage (43.0), free throw percentage (86.7) and steals (46).

“Our three seniors are players to pay attention to,” Kaminsky said. “[Kendall] Jacks has been an All-Conference player the last two years and coming in, he’s projected to be one of the best players in the conference. Our other two seniors (Janssen and Joseph) bring experience and ability that I really expect to really lead us this year.”

Juniors consist of Tony Bonner, Al’Tavius Jackson, Obi Patrick, and Luke TerHark. Bonner played in all 31 games last season as a center and averaged 6.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game and led the team in field-goal percentage (52.5). Jackson is a transfer from Kirkwood Community College in Iowa, where he spent two seasons and helped the team win a National Championship during the 2015- 2016 season his freshman season. Patrick is a transfer from Cloud Community College in Kansas, where he averaged 3.0 points per contest last season. TerHark appeared in 23 games last year for the Wildcats as a backup guard and posted 3.4 points per game.

The lone sophomore on this year’s team is Ben Dentlinger. Dentlinger appeared in 21 games for the Wildcats last season and shot 46.2% from the field.

There are five freshmen on the roster this season: Nick Ferrarini, Nosa Iyagbaye, Jordan Janssen, Nate Mohr, and Nate Thayer. Ferrarini attended Millard North High School in Omaha, where he started three seasons and averaged 21.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game his senior season, earning Lincoln Journal Star Super State Third Team honors. Iyagbaye sat out last season as a redshirt and attended Parkview Christian High School in Nebraska, averaging 9.7 points and 10.3 rebounds per game his senior season. Janssen is a graduate of Lincoln East High School, where he was a three-year starter and averaged 15.2 points and 9.3 rebounds per game. Mohr graduated from Glenwood High School in Iowa, earning class 3A First Team honors after averaging 14.0 points 5.2 assists per game as a senior. Thayer graduated from Photo by Brianna Parsons Tony Bonner scored against WSC alum in alum vs WSC basketball game on Saturday. Platteview High School where he averaged 14.8 points and 6.9 rebounds per contest his senior season and earned Class B First Team All-State honors by the Omaha World Herald.

“We have a good mix of experience and a high-level recruiting class that came in,” Kaminksy said. “I think that group will blend pretty well together. We’re expecting to continue moving the program forward.”

The Wildcats travel to Lincoln next Thursday, Nov. 1, to take on the Cornhuskers in an exhibition matchup before traveling to Warrensburg, Missouri to match up against Pittsburg State and Central Missouri on Nov. 9 and Nov. 10.

“Obviously [Nebraska] is a major challenge,” Kaminsky said. “It’s a hard game to get and we appreciate Coach Miles and Nebraska for allowing us to have that opportunity to go play in Lincoln. The biggest thing for us all season regardless of opponent is to make sure we take care of the things that are in our control.”