By: Shea Stine
The men’s basketball team looks to improve on a successful 2015-16 season, which ended in a loss in the Great Lakes Valley Conference Tournament semifinal. The Hawks were 20-10 overall and 12-6 in the Great Lakes Valley Conference. Although there were a few key personnel loses, coach Marty Bell has a lot of confidence in his experienced team.
“We have a very veteran team,” Bell said. “Our guys know the routine, and the preseason has run very smoothly because of that.”
The Hawks will be strong in the post again with the return of their top two scorers, seniors Joseph Tagarelli and Evan McGaughey. Tagarelli was named All-GLVC first team after averaging 16.5 points and 6.6 rebounds per game last season. McGaughey was named All-GLVC second team after averaging 13.6 points and 8.3 rebounds per game.
In the backcourt, the Hawks will be balanced with the return of senior point guard Herm Senor and redshirt senior shooting guard Von Washington. Bell is counting on them to continue to handle the ball carefully and keep the offense running.
“One of the things that helped up last year was limiting our turnovers while still moving the ball well,” Bell said. “The year before last we really struggled with turning the ball over, and we took much better care of the ball last year while improving our assists.”
In addition to limiting turnovers, the Hawks will need to put more pressure on opposing offenses and improve their defense, which allowed 79.9 points per game. Bell said that the Hawks need to keep opposing offenses out of the paint while limiting their own fouls. Opponents shot 725 free throws last season, and the Hawks only shot 591 free throws, a statistic that Bell would like to see flip.
As for the rest of the backcourt, Bell is counting on a slew of new faces to replace the losses of Nate Des Jardins, Thomas Jackson and Jordan Wilson. Division 1 transfer Robby Dosier, redshirt freshman Trevor Meny and junior Bobby Frasco will all be counted on to shoot the ball well from the perimeter.
Fans who loved seeing Godson Eneogwe’s high flying play don’t have to look far. Bell says that redshirt Sophomore Marcus Hinton has the length and athleticism to create exciting plays and slam dunks.
“He’s a guy that fills the hole that Godson left,” said Bell. “He has the kind of skill set that you can’t teach, and he will be a big addition this year.”
The Hawks will be tested early in the season. Quincy will open up with an exhibition game at Illinois State before travelling to St. Louis, Mo. to take on Grand Valley State and Ferris State. Bell says those three matchups will be a good indicator of how the season will go.
“If we can go through that tough stretch and compete, we will be in a good spot,” Bell said. “We don’t need to go 3-0, but I want to see our guys competing against good teams. Those are some tough teams, and we will have quick turnarounds between them so we need to compete and see what we’re made of.”
The Hawks will be up for a challenge once again in the highly competitive GLVC. Three GLVC teams, Bellarmine (1), Drury (11) and Indiannapolis (17), are ranked in the top 20 of the Bulletin NCAA Division II preseason rankings. Wisconsin-Parkside, who hosted the NCAA regional, will be a tough matchup again, and Rockhurst and Truman State will be tough opponents on the west side of the division.
“This league is so good top to bottom that we have to really bring it night in and night out,” said Bell. “You can be as talented as you want, but if you don’t bring it on any particular night, you will get beat.”
Quincy opens its season November 6 at Illinois State. The first home game will be November 19 against Hannibal-LaGrange at Pepsi Arena.