The only thing certain about the 2009-10 Tarleton State men’s basketball team is that uncertainty abounds.
Veteran head coach Lonn Reisman says his club begins his 22nd season with more questions than answers.
“There is a lot of tension at this time of the year because of the unknown,” Reisman said. “We are a young team with just three seniors. We have players coming back from injury who are not fully recovered, but I think they will be before the season is over. We are thin (down low) with players sitting out to gain eligibility. That leaves a lot of question marks, but this has been a hard working group all fall. It’s a gritty group that I think we can expect a 100 percent effort from every night.”
Who are the scorers going to be?
What will the rotation off the bench be like?
These are just some of the pressing questions the Texans look to begin providing answers to when they tip off the season against Dallas Baptist at 8 p.m. tonight at Wisdom Gym.
Veterans Wale Ogunoye, a 6-6 junior center, and Effran Bryant, a 5-6 senior guard, anchor what is expected to be the starting lineup in the opener. Joining them to start the contest should be newcomers Corin Henry (Ranger College) at guard and Devon Hills (Butte College, Calif.) and Donta Smith (Pearl River CC, Miss.) at forwards.
Bryant averaged 6.4 points and 2.3 assists per game while Ogunoye scored 4.9 points and grabbed 3.6 rebounds for an 18-10 team last year, only the second Tarleton team since 2002 to miss the NCAA playoffs.
The first three off the bench for the Texans will likely be Warren Webb, who missed all of last season with a knee injury that will likely continue to limit his minutes in the early stages of this season, Jeremiah Wilson and Tyler Rushing.
Reisman says Wilson, who is a lean 6-7, has gained 20 pounds in the off-season and could very well be a starter if not for his versatility that allows him to enter the game as either a power forward or center. The head coach says Rushing is one of the team’s best shooters and has been working to improve his passing and his play under pressure.
“This year even more than in the past we will aim to mature gradually as the season progresses,” Reisman says. “We will know where we stand going into conference play in January.”
Dallas Baptist enters the opener with far less questions. The Patriots return four starters from a 23-6 team that reached the 2009 South Central Region semifinals.
“We’re probably facing our strongest opening opponent since I’ve been here,” says Reisman, whose teams are 19-2 in season openers including wins in seven straight.
Dallas Baptist had an exhibition against Division I Texas-Arlington Saturday and kept the game close throughout before bowing out in an 88-84 loss. Patriot guard Braxton Adamson was 4-4 from three-point land and scored 26 points, while Jordan McGowen tallied 14 points and six rebounds and Bryan Baumann finished with nine points and 10 boards