BEREA, Ohio – After making an appearance in last year's Ohio Athletic Conference Championship game, the Baldwin Wallace University men's basketball team is determined to rise to the top of the OAC in 2017-18.
Third-year head coach Tom Heil, who has a 53-31 career record as a head coach, returns 11 letterwinners and four starters from last year's squad that finished with a 15-13 record and a 10-8 mark in the conference and advanced to the OAC Championship game for the first time since 2006.
"Last year, we were playing some great basketball the last few weeks of the season," Heil said. "Losing in the OAC tournament championship game led to a very productive offseason for our players. We have a hungry group of guys who are looking forward to the opportunities ahead to showcase all of the hard work they put in this offseason."
Heil added, "We are very excited for this season to get underway. We have a very challenging non-conference schedule on top of playing in one of the best conferences in the country. We have a very experienced team who is looking forward to the challenges that lie ahead."
Senior three-time All-OAC guard Cam Kuhn (Vermillion) and senior All-OAC forward Jake Fetherolf (Norwalk) return for their final season as a Yellow Jacket and bring three years of experience to lead the team. Kuhn became the 40th BW men's basketball player to surpass 1,000 career points en route to averaging 15.3 points per game to lead the team in scoring. Fetherolf put up a career-high 11.5 points per game, good enough for third on the team, and finished second in the OAC with 9.0 rebounds per game.
Senior forward Mike Kaminski (Medina) and junior All-OAC and Academic All-OAC guard Jay Battle (Gahanna/Lincoln) also return as starters from a season ago. As a junior, Kaminski shot a career-best 48.6 percent from the field and 78.3 percent from the free throw line, helping him to a career-high 9.3 points per game. He also finished sixth in the OAC in three-point shooting percentage at 46.1 percent. Battle was second on the team with 12.3 points per game and led the team with 91 assists and 28 steals.
Junior guard Kyle Nader (Vermillion) and sophomores guard Michael Quiring (Brunswick), forward Tyler Colombo (Strasburg/Tuscarawas Central Catholic) and forward Alex Nahra (Mayfield) each appeared in over 20 games, making a few starts here and there, and will look to keep contributing to the team's success.
Sophomores guard Zach Cebula (Brunswick), guard Troy Massa (Parma/Normandy), forward Jack Lostoski (Uniontown/Lake), forward Jake Elbin (Findlay) and forward Drew Sova (Chagrin Falls/Kenston) will look to crack into the rotation using the experience they gained as freshmen.
Joining the team are five new faces in freshmen guard Kyle Lyon (Parma), guard Logan Newman (Canton/St. Thomas Aquinas), guard Luke Schaefer (Medina), forward Quinton Farren (Seven Hills/Normandy) and guard Jake Creadon (Parma Heights/Padua Franciscan) to provide even more depth at multiple positions.
BW will open the 2017-18 campaign by competing in the Lee Pfund Classic, hosted by Wheaton (Ill.) College, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 17-18. The Yellow Jackets will host Alfred St. (N.Y.) College on Tuesday, Nov. 21, in the team's home opener while OAC play opens up on Saturday, Dec. 2, when the Yellow Jackets travel to Marietta College.