Tigers reload after championship

Senior Logan Wolf drives through the Xavier defense in the 2018 season.

Kicking off the season at home Friday night, men’s basketball will play Waterloo West.

The Tigers have taken a hit losing seniors Aj Green, Reese Gardner and Ben Gerdes, but head coach Ryan Schultz feels that they have a pretty solid team as is.

“I think we have the ability to compete at highest level in the state of Iowa. With that said, it will take some time to get to where we need to be.  With the graduation of all-time leading scorer and current starting point guard at UNI, AJ Green, as well as the graduations of Ben Gerdes and Reese Gardner, there are some large shoes to fill. Furthermore, we have a lot of key players. We will need some patience early on, but I am confident we will get to where we need to be,” Schultz said.

The team has figures on the team who can lead them to the next level, such as returning starters Logan Wolf, Jack Campbell and Jackson Frericks.

“We have three starters returning who were also elected to be our captains: Jack Campbell, Jackson Frericks and Logan Wolf. Mason Abbas was also an integral part of our state championship team, logged a lot of minutes and will play a significant role this season,” Schultz said.  

The Tigers’ underclassmen have shown some pretty good improvements on the court as returning juniors and sophomores step up to show their skills.

“At 6’9”, sophomore Chase Courbat has had an outstanding summer and fall, and we are very excited about his progress. Juniors that are coming off a successful sophomore season that we expect to have large roles are Josh Ollendieck, Jaxon Heth, Ben Sernett and Cael Loecher. There are several others including seniors Tenchi Porter, Lovelle Banks, Jr. and junior Gil Taiber who have shown a lot of improvement, will be competing for minutes, and will have significant roles on our team,” Schultz said

Senior Logan Wolf knows what it takes to repeat last years results.

I think as a team we are going to figure out how to play together and that will come with time. We lost some great players and leaders last year, but the team will have the same goal with different guys in different roles, and some people are going to have to step into bigger roles this season,” Wolf said.

Last season junior Josh Ollendieck was moved up to the varsity roster and played an abundance of minutes for the Tigers. Ollendieck even contributed 19 points (1.5 per game).

“Since losing last year’s seniors, we are going to just have to get used to not having them out there on the court. We are going to have to replace them by playing together and having good teamwork,” Ollendieck said.

Lots of teams this season have a good deal of players, but Schultz said he feels that the championship goal can be achieved by working harder than any other team.

“In order to give yourself a shot at competing at that level, you need talented players who buy in to becoming a basketball family, commit to doing things the right way each day, are process driven, play for each other and accept their roles and responsibilities in order to be great teammates,” Schultz said.

 

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