Basketball Teams Ready for Season
The Indiana University South Bend men’s and women’s basketball seasons are about to begin. The men tipoff the 2014-15 season as they host the second annual “Haunted Hoops Tournament” on Halloween night. The tournament features fellow IU regional campus, Kokomo, Silver Lake College, and future Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference member, Saint Ambrose University.
Second year head coach, Scott Cooper has high expectations as he brought in a strong recruiting class to make this year’s team more athletic and more explosive. Cooper coaches an up-tempo offense that aims to score a lot of points and put a lot of defensive pressure on opposing teams. Last season, Coach Cooper’s Titans reached the CCAC tournament where they fell to Roosevelt in heartbreaking fashion, in overtime, in the opening round. The 2014-15 Titans look to return to the CCAC tournament and go deeper with hopes of making a national tournament. A young Titan squad returns just five players from last year’s roster and added nine new faces.
The IU South Bend women’s basketball team has their regular season opener at home against Lawrence Tech University on October 25th. Coach Steve Bruce’s Lady Titans reached the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference semifinal round before falling to eventual conference tournament champion, Purdue University Calumet. The future looks bright in South Bend as the Lady Titans return nearly 70% of their offense from a team that won 20 games a year ago.
The 2014-15 Lady Titans will be more athletic and explosive than the team that lost in the conference tournament last year. IU South Bend returns one of the conference’s best 3-point shooters, guard Ashley Carson, a dominating center, Maegan Callaway, and a versatile point guard in Nicole Sly. With a veteran presence, the Lady Titans will look to make a run at the CCAC championship, something that has not been done at IU South Bend since the early 2000’s. “This year’s team has our sights set on getting to the national tournament, said Coach Bruce. “We have seven veteran girls returning, all understanding of the hard and challenging effort that it will take to make this happen. Ultimately, team attitude and effort, two things over which we have total control, will either enhance or sabotage our journey,” ended Bruce.
More on the Men’s Team
Jordan Grant returns in the middle for the Titans. Grant saw action in 26 games last season and proved that his presence in the paint is felt by opponents. He averaged nearly three rebounds per game and blocked eight shots. Grant has worked hard in the offseason on his shooting ability and should be a fixture in the starting lineup for the Titans.
Junior Riley Stichter returns after leading the Titans in minutes played per game last year (28.5). Stichter has a knack for rebounding the ball. His 7.2 rebounds per game last season ranked him in the top 10 in the conference. Riley also wreaked havoc on opposing offenses as he totaled 36 blocks and 27 steals both good for second-best on the team.
Another key player for the Titans is Beacher Ward. However, Ward may miss the majority of the as he injured his knee during an offseason workout. There is no timetable for Ward’s return.
Last season, Mark White provided a spark off the bench for the Titans. He appeared in all 30 games and made eight starts. As a junior this year, White will provide leadership to a young inexperienced backcourt. White’s minutes will increase as he will have an opportunity to run the fast paced offense.
Also returning from last year’s team is Brandon Beam. Beam made 24 starts last season, scoring 8.5 ppg. Beam had success attacking the basket last year and will look to do the same this year as he will be looked upon to pick up some of the scoring slack left behind by his brother Chris Beam and Jason Jordan.
Oosha Mitchell, a 6’5” forward will have an immediate impact in his first season with the Titans. Oosha is very versatile player. He is a strong, athletic four-man who can shoot the three with range, score off the dribble from the perimeter, and play with his back to the basket in the post. He has a good feel for the game and plays extremely hard.
Mitchell’s high school teammate, Jeremy Jones will compete for minutes as a wing player. Jeremy is a long, athletic and can really shoot the 3-pointer, and defend on the perimeter.
Former Mishawaka standout, Javonte Young returns to South Bend after playing two years at Iowa Central Community College. Young brings college basketball experience to this young squad and has the ability to be one of the top scorers in the conference. Young is a long, athletic, versatile guard who can shoot the 3-pointer, score off the dribble, and defend really well on the perimeter. His skill set and ability to defend multiple positions will be a great fit in Cooper’s system.
Joining Young as a former Mishawaka gradute will be T.J. Benner. Benner enrolled at IU South Bend last year, but was unable to play for the Titans. With one year of practice under his belt, Benner should feel comfortable with the system. T.J. is a very athletic wing player with good length who shoots well from three-point range, and can score off the dribble. He continues to get faster and stronger and should be a scoring threat for the Titans.
Jacob Foster comes to IU South Bend after an impressive prep career at Wapahani High School. Foster averaged over 16 points and eight rebounds in his final season at WHS. Jacob is a long, athletic, versatile forward who can score a lot of different ways, rebound in traffic, and protect the rim defensively.
Dante Butler of Horizon Christian Academy in Indianapolis will redshirt this season. Butler has good size for a combo guard, and has an outstanding feel for the game and is a great rebounder for a guard, and can score in a lot of different ways. With a year to learn the system and get stronger, Butler’s best days are ahead of him.
With Ward out, 6’7” Samuel Wilson will look to get some minutes for the Titans this year. The Milford, Indiana native has good size, is very skilled, and can play a few different positions offensively. As Wilson continues to get stronger and can adjust to the speed and physicality of college basketball, he should be a solid player for the Titans.
Allan Barnes is one of a few players who bring college basketball experience into this season. Barnes transferred from fellow CCAC member, Purdue North Central and adds size and strength to the Titans’ backcourt. The 6’6” Granger, Indiana native is still learning the system as he just joined the team a couple of weeks ago. Once Barnes has that down, he could become a factor for the Titans.
Another local standout, Taylor Brooks of Penn High School rounds out the newcomers for the Titans. Brooks is a versatile forward with some serious length and high motor. His ability to shoot the three, finish inside, defend multiple positions, and rebound in traffic will make him a great addition.
Also new to the Titans will be assistant coach Steven Heatherly. After an impressive playing career for the Titans, Heatherly has traded in his jersey for a jacket and tie. In his three year career, Steven scored 1,170 points and pulled down 354 rebounds. Heatherly was part of the 2012-13 team that won 20 games as he led the team in scoring with just over 13 ppg.
More on the Women’s Team
Callaway a 6-0 center and a second team all-conference selection will look to put up similar numbers as she did last year. Callaway led the team in scoring with 19.9 ppg and rebounding with 9.3 rpg. In 31 games, she scored in double-figures 28 times including 16 games of 20 points or more and three games of 30 points of more. Callaway’s post defense was as good as anyone in the country as she denied a single-season record, 106 shots. She showed a lot of versatility as she stepped behind the three-point line and connected on 27-of-67 attempts.
Junior Emily Peppers-VanNamee will also see significant minutes for the Lady Titans. Peppers-VanNamme saw limited action last season due to injury. In 18 games played, she scored just over six points per game and showed flashes of being an elite scorer for IU South Bend.
The Lady Titans return a wealth of experience in the backcourt as three-year starter, Nichole Sly returns for her final campaign with the Lady Titans. Last season, Sly led the CCAC in assists/game with 5.5. With 170 total assists, Sly surpassed the 400 assists mark in her career. She also shot nearly 40% from the three-point line and averaged 9.6 ppg.
Ashley Carson returns as one of the best 3-point shooters in the CCAC as she shot 151 last year, connecting on 56. In her career, Carson has hit 35% of the 3-point shots she has taken. The Winchester, Tennessee native will continue to be a fixture in the Lady Titan lineup in 2014-15.
Sophomore KiLee Knafel should see additional minutes in her second season. As a freshman, Knafel played in 30 games and averaged over 16 minutes per contest. Kaylie Fraze also saw action in 30 games off the bench for the Lady Titans and played just over 10 minutes per game. Jackie Stalder return in the 2014-15 season after missing most of last season with an injury. Stalder appeared in 15 games, making 10 starts.
There are seven new faces on the Lady Titans roster this season in addition to the seven returners. Coach Bruce is excited about this recruiting class and thinks they will contribute immediately. “I’m very optimistic that our freshman class will be strong contributors this season. It is a talented and athletic group,” added Bruce.
Former Mishawka standout, Noelly Scott comes to IU South Bend from Iowa Central Community College. Scott sat out most of last year after suffering a season ending knee injury. Noelly appeared in 19 games at Lake Michigan College before transferring to Iowa Central, including the National Junior College Athletic Association National Championship game where LMC would eventually fall by five points. Scott finished with 11 points and four assists. Noelly is a multi-skilled player who can score the basketball.
Paige Avery and IL Nelson join Scott as former Mishawaka standouts. Avery scored just over 12 ppg in her final season with the Cavemen. Her hard work and selfless attitude should make her jump to college basketball simple. Nelson brings a knack for good defense and the ability to shoot the ball. She earned a Northern Indiana Conference honorable-mention her senior season at Mishawaka.
Brianna Blackwell of Whiting, Indiana should contribute immediately, a point guard who can move to the two or three, she has outstanding vision, loves to get out and run on the break, and is an accurate 3-point shooter. Joining Blackwell in the backcourt will be Courtney Smith. She was one of 18 players in the state to be selected to the Indiana Junior All-Star team. She is a player that defends well and aggressively attacks the basket. Smith will compete for playing time in her freshman season.
Tatyanna Goodson, a forward from Niles, Michigan will add athleticism to the Lady Titans in 2014-15. Goodson averaged over eight rebounds per game at Niles High School and also blocked 14 shots. Goodson displays quickness and has a nose for the ball when it comes off the rim.
Sarah Rogian, a 6’3” center will gain valuable experience from all-conference center, Maegan Callaway. Sarah is a great rebounder and will provide a low post presence both offensively and defensively. She’s tough, sturdy, and strong.
Go to http://www.iusbtitans.com for more information and schedules.