The Baker Orange

2014-15 Men’s Basketball Preview

Steve Sanders

Steve Sanders

Story by Antonio Adgers, Writer

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The Baker University men’s basketball team is set to start its 2014-15 season against Kansas Wesleyan on Nov. 4. The team was picked seventh place in the Heart of America Athletic Conference preseason coaches’ poll.

Head coach Sean Dooley and his team are looking to bounce back from a rough year in which the team finished eighth, going 11-18 for the season and 5-13 in the Heart of America Athletic Conference.

“I’m looking for payback,” senior forward EJ Carter said. “I feel like we should have finished at a higher position last year, so I’m looking forward to conference the most.”

Carter averaged six rebounds and 13.3 points per game last season.

The Baker men have taken their off-season time to get in shape and beef up the roster. The Wildcats have added five new recruits to the list, including three freshmen from Australia.

“I think some of our recruits will come in and get buckets,” reigning HAAC Freshman of the Year Javeion Gray said. “They just need to learn the offense and once they do, they’ll do great.”

Gray, a guard for BU, was the second leading scorer last year averaging 10.7 points per game.

With the new freshman recruits, the Wildcats added to the guard play and the big bodies down low. Gregg Easter from Little Rock, Arkansas, brings ball-handling and shooting abilities. Brock Mick from Smithville, Missouri, brings speed and shiftiness.

Nathan Guscrott from Melbourne, Australia, will look to facilitate the pick-and-roll offense for the Cats as a guard. Dean van Lunenburg and Daniel Young, both from Australia as well, hope to help the Baker men down low as they stand at a towering 6-foot-9 and 6-foot-7, respectively.

Baker returns 11 players from last season. However, only four of the 11 returners have started games for the ‘Cats, which will bring lineup and position changes for the team. There have made a few internal changes that could produce positive results.

“We’re in better shape this year because the emphasis on running is a lot heavier now,” Gray said. “Also, off the court, things are stricter because the coaches want us to be focused on our classes, too.”

The Wildcats will miss guard Todd Johnston’s 43 percent 3-point shooting this year. However, the Baker men will have EJ Carter’s leadership and Gray’s consistent 52.8 field goal percentage back for this year to help.

Both Carter and Gray are confident that their team is ready to make an impact in the HAAC this year.

“This year we’re coming in with a different mindset,” Carter said. “We know it’s not easy and we’re ready for battle.”

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