Muskies open 2008-09 season on the road
Athletics - posted on 11/20/2008
More than 30 days after its first practice back on Oct. 15, the Lakeland men's basketball team will open up its non-conference season this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Lake Forest College in Lake Forest, Ill.
After making an improbable run to the Northern Athletics Conference Tournament championship last season, the Muskies return just one senior, three juniors and three sophomores, while adding 10 true freshmen to the roster.
The senior is forward Peter Worth, the team's lone returning starter. The Sheboygan native averaged 7.0 points and 5.6 rebounds per game a year ago, shooting a cool 61.8 percent from the field.
Worth admits that while acclimating two handfuls of new freshmen to the college game isn't easy, the energy and enthusiasm that a new bunch brings is contagious.
"We just have to get better every day, that's kind of our mantra that we'll live by this year," Worth said. "Our young guys are maturing. They just have to push themselves beyond their 'wall' and find another wind to play the college game."
Junior combo guard Khendal Andrews (Kankakee, Ill.) returns as the team's second-leading scorer as a returner. Andrews shot over 39 percent from three point range last season and will be relied on for scoring and leadership.
"As older guys, we've tried to make practice a war zone," Andrews said. "We need to play a big role in transitioning these guys from high school to college, and get some of our freshmen to play like sophomores."
First-year head coach Aaron Aanonsen and his young staff will rely on several freshmen to contribute immediately.
Lake Forest (0-1) has been picked to finish seventh in the Midwest Conference preseason coaches' poll. Also a young team, the Foresters welcome 12 new freshman to the roster.
The Foresters, who run primarily a three-guard, dribble-drive offense, were defeated by NAC member Benedictine University 88-67 in the opener for both teams at Lisle, Ill., on Nov. 15. Freshman forward Travis Clark led Lake Forest in the game with 20 points and nine rebounds.
The Muskies have been picked to finish third in the NAC by the league's head coaches.
"We're picked to finish third, but we will push to be first," Andrews said. "We want that feeling again, the one we had last season."
The Muskies will play their home opener on Tuesday against MacMurray (Ill.) College at 7 p.m.
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