Prove The Poll Wrong
The college basketball season is back. With the new season come preseason polls and predictions. For the upcoming season, the Webster University men’s basketball team was selected to finish fourth in the annual SLIAC coaches’ preseason poll.
The Gorloks won a share of the SLIAC regular-season title and won the conference tournament last year, but that didn’t sway the coaches to pick Webster as the favorite this year. This is an interesting decision because the defending SLIAC champion is usually voted No. 1 to start the next season.
At the same time, there is logic to the Gorloks being voted to finish lower in the conference. The biggest factor is Webster only has one returning starter from last year in sophomore center Jarrod Huskey.
The Gorloks lost their top two scorers from last year’s team. Nick Jones graduated after a great career — he was a scoring threat both in the paint and outside the arc.
The loss of Willie Trimble was a bigger surprise for Gorlok fans. Trimble took over the point guard position last year after transferring from Riverside Community College in California, and proved to be a huge addition.
Trimble’s speed and ability to distribute the ball was a nice combination. Trimble and Jones were a great scoring combo — but these aren’t the only big losses.
The Gorloks are also without graduated players Robby Meeh and Scott Restoff. Meeh was a big energy guy off the bench. He always went 100 percent on both offense and defense. Restoff was a great 3-point shooting threat, as he had the ability to make shots from ridiculous distances.
One player who can’t be forgotten is Drew Moore. He was one of Webster’s best defenders. He was good at crashing the boards for rebounds and had a nice offensive skillset.
All of the players had key roles in helping Webster win the SLIAC tournament last season. So it makes sense that the Gorloks were voted to finish fourth with only one starter returning from last season. But there is also reason to believe Webster can get back to the SLIAC tournament, if not win it.
For Webster to get back to the tournament, it will need new players to step up. This begins with the starting lineup. Through two games, the starters have been Huskey, Cody Bradfisch, Stefan Whittingham, Roman Robinson and Dietrick Sooter.
Of the four new starters, Bradfisch has the most playing experience. Bradfisch has shown the ability to catch fire on offense over the last two seasons. With a bigger role, the Gorloks will need him to continue to be a big scoring threat.
Whittingham scored 20 against Maryville College in Webster’s second game of the season, while Sooter scored 14. In the season-opening game against Bluffton University, Robinson scored 22 and Bradfisch scored 12. Each starter has the ability to put the ball in the basket.
The biggest aspect Webster will need to work on with an almost completely new starting lineup is defense. In the first two games of the season, the Gorloks’ defense struggled, as they gave up 79 and 89 points. This is not good enough if the team wants to contend in the SLIAC.
The season is still young. The best hope for the Gorloks is to get the kinks worked out so they will be ready for the conference season.
There are a lot of new faces, which has caused some pessimism as far as predictions for the season go. But the Gorloks still have the talent to be in the discussion come tournament time.