Team: Saint Mary men’s basketball
Last year’s record: 25-6 overall (best record in school history); 15-3 in KCAC (second place);
NAIA Division II National Tournament appearance;
NAIA Division II final national ranking (No. 22)
Coach: Jon Bishop
Coach’s record: 78-44, .640 winning percentage
JEB Greenberg, senior guard; averaged 13 points, six rebounds, three assists in 2011-12
Jordan Wilcox, senior guard; averaged 14.5 points, three rebounds, two assists last season
Kevin Harvey, senior guard; averaged 13 points, four rebounds, two assists last year
Chip Schneider, senior forward; averaged 10 points, five rebounds, one assist in 2011-12
Marc McGrory, senior forward; averaged seven points, five rebounds, one assist last season
Newcomers to watch:
Matt Heydman, senior forward; NCAA Division II transfer
Shiron Williams, junior point guard; transfer from Rochester CC
Torren Dowdy, junior guard; transfer from Rochester CC
Forrest Hicks, freshman center; St. Joseph Christian
Xavier Young, freshman point guard; Leavenworth
Team Outlook: STRENGTHS — Six seniors, four of which were all-conference last year in addition to an NAIA All-American, return to lead one of the deepest teams in USM history.
Bishop believes he can get contributions from 12 players game in and game out, and likes the size that the Spires have added to its vastly experienced back court.
WEAKNESSES — Complacency will be a trap that Spires will need to watch out for. Ranked No. 12 nationally in the NAIA Division II, the club needs to not rest on its preseason honors.
As far as on the court, ball control, finishing at the basket and rebounding will all be keys to meeting Saint Mary’s high expectations.
Big games: at College of the Ozarks, Nov. 1; at KCAC/HAAC Classic in Ottawa, Nov. 9-10; versus Benedictine College, Nov. 13; versus Tabor College, Jan. 10; versus McPherson College, Feb. 2; versus Ottawa University, Feb. 14
Coach says: “We return eight of our top 10 players from last year’s team and 12 players with experience overall. Our ability to score points will be our greatest strength with this year’s squad.
“With our recruiting class we brought in, this is by far my deepest team my staff and I have put together. There are 12 guys on this year’s team that have the ability to be on the floor and play.
“Last year’s team did a great job of playing unselfishly and sharing the ball. I see that in this year’s team as well. I’m hoping to take the experience of last year and turn that into a positive for this year’s team.
“Our schedule is once again very tough, especially early on in the season. If we can get better on the defensive end of the floor and learn to value the basketball better we will have a chance of having a very special season.”