On Friday, November 16, the Alma College Men's Basketball team will open their 2012-13 season when they take on Capital University (Ohio) at Wheaton (Ill.) College. The Scots will be looking to get off to a fast start under second-year Head Coach Sam Hargraves after finishing last season with a record of 9-16 overall.
"Heading into the season, we have a good mix of returning players that understand the system after going through it last year and we have a nice group of freshmen and a transfer that should make us deeper than last year," said Hargraves. "Hopefully we can match up better against teams this season. Last year we were okay against smaller teams but this year we have some size to throw at people."
The Scots were picked to finish sixth this season by the league's coaches in the MIAA preseason poll after the team finished in that same exact spot last year with a conference mark of 5-9.
"For me the poll motivates but I guess if you look at us on paper, it is hard to dispute the ranking," said Hargraves. "We lost two All-MIAA players that contributed immensely for us and have replaced them with newcomers who have never played in this league. But, it gives our guys a chance to prove some people wrong."
One positive for the Scots entering this season is that Hargraves has a plethora of players that have a lot of game experience. Sr. F Greg Silverthorn (Shepherd, Mich./Shepherd) and Jr. G Brandon Krause (Sanford, Mich./Meridian) both started almost every game last season. Silverthorn averaged 12.1 points per game (second on team) and knocked down 43 three-pointers, while Krause scored 8.5 ppg and had 53 assists.
Other returning players that contributed last season and are expected to play a role this season include Sr. G/F Dustin DeShais (Ortonville, Mich./Brandon), Sr. F Lance Jongekrijg (Zeeland, Mich./Zeeland East), Sr. F Brian Sheridan (New Lothrop, Mich./New Lothrop) and Sr. G Chris Williamson (Fowlerville, Mich./Fowlerville).
2012-13 marks Hargraves' first true recruiting class and he is excited about the prospects he has brought in to the lineup. He identifies five new players that he believes can have a chance to make an impact during this season. Muskegon Junior College transfer F Isiah Law (Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven) is a 6'5" player that will play both the three and four spot for the Scots.
The four other players are all freshmen and include F DJ Beckman (Shelby, Mich./Shelby), C Charley Helmer (Six Lakes, Mich./Montabella), C Ivy Johnson (Rockford, Mich./Rockford), and G Scott Nikodemski (Rockford, Mich./Rockford).
As the Scots enter the upcoming season, Hargraves is cautiously optimistic about the fortunes ahead for the team. This year's squad matches up much better up and down the roster after a season of being smaller at every position. That alone gives the team more options on both sides of the ball.
"I feel like this is the first year of the rebuilding," said Hargraves. "A big part of how we do will depend on how well we can jell the kids that have been here with the newcomers. The conference is tough, but I believe we have the talent to compete for the league tournament if we perform up to our ability."