The Wilmington College men’s basketball team opens its 2017-18 season Sunday against Div. I Northern Kentucky University.
The Quakers, 9-16 last year, will tip off with the Norse at 1 p.m. at BB&T Arena in Highland Heights, Ky.
“NKU is big, physical and very well-coached,” said Wilmington head coach KC Hunt. “They play extremely fast so we are going to have to be very good in transition defense to stay in the game.”
Northern Kentucky was 24-11 last season, champions of the Horizon League tournament and an NCAA tournament participant. Last season was the first time the Norse were eligible to play in the Div. I post-season men’s basketball tournament.
“This is a great opportunity for our guys to play against a quality Division I opponent who played in the NCAA tournament last year,” Hunt said. “I know our guys are excited for the challenge. We shouldn’t be intimidated as we played them last season so this isn’t unfamiliar territory to us. Regardless of the outcome we are going embrace the challenge and go compete our tails off.”
NKU opens its season Friday night against East Tennessee State.
The Norse are led by Drew McDonald, the preseason Horizon League player of the year, who averaged 16 points and 8 rebounds a game last season.
Wilmington is led by Christian Jones, a senior guard from Hamilton. He averaged 13 points and shot nearly 40 percent from the three-point line in 2016-17. Jones has 901 career points.
DJ Iles from Fayetteville-Perry, Nathan Scott from Eastern Brown and Andrew Russell from Columbus Central Crossing are among the top players returning for WC. In all, the Quakers have eight players on the roster from a year ago. They lost two starters.
”I have very high expectations for this group,” said Hunt. “I like our depth, our ability to space the floor with shooters and our experience level. I think we are going to be right in the mix to compete for an OAC championship all year long.”
Reach Mark Huber at 937-556-5765, via email firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @wnjsports