Head coach, Scott Cooper, and the Titans’ men’s basketball team are getting ready to tip-off the 2015-16 season.
Coming off a disappointing and injury-plagued 12-19 season last year, there’s a lot to be hopeful for in the new season.
“We’re healthy,” said Cooper. “We were above 500, 20 games into the season [last year] and got hit by injuries. We had a roster of 14 and had 9 guys get MRIs at some point.”
Even with all the injuries, including missing their two best post players all of last season, and playing the second hardest schedule in the nation, the Titans still managed to make their first national tournament appearance. So there is much to build on. And the team has a good mix of experience and incoming talent that should really help them.
Cooper thinks fans should keep an eye on freshman guard Joe Bannister and forward Myluv Sutton. He expects they will make an early impact in their careers at IUSB. Returning Sophomore guards T.J. Benner and Jeremy Jones, who set the national single-game 3-point record last season, and Senior guard Javonte Young add experience and depth.
But even with all the incoming and returning talent, depth and blessings of good health, there is still room to improve. Cooper knows his team struggled at the rim last season in all three categories—scoring and offensive and defensive rebounding. “We really struggled [at the rim],” Cooper said. “We’re a very small team. We have a lot of people playing the three and four spot that are 6’5” 6’6” when most of the teams we play have guys that are 6’9”.”
But Cooper’s optimistic that scoring at the rim will be better at the start. “[We] should be better,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys that are really good off the ball and can really get to the rim. We were one of the best shooting teams in the nation in almost every category, but it would be nice to score a little closer to the rim.”
The Titans start the season on Oct. 24 with two straight road games, at Great Lakes Christian College and then on Oct. 27 at cross-town rival Bethel, before returning home Halloween night to take on Andrews University at 8 p.m. in the Student Activities Center.