Coming off a NCAA tournament bid with five talented seniors, last year’s DePauw University men’s basketball team hoped to live up to the success of their predecessors but fell short.
“From a results standpoint we really need to show some improvement,” said Head Men’s Coach Bill Fenlon.
The Tigers had a record of 8-17 following a successful 20-10 season where the Tigers moved onto the second round of the NCAA playoffs.
One of the main problems for the Tigers last season was the responsibility thrust upon some of the younger players according to Fenlon. Last year, all five sophomores saw regular playing time. “We weren’t really deep in our junior and senior class,” Fenlon said. “We had to play some sophomore and freshmen, that maybe in a normal cycle they would have been playing but would have had smaller roles. Having said that, these players are well ahead in their development and that’s positive.”
One of the Tigers’ main concern this season is also depth. The only two seniors, Luke Lattner and Nate Jahn, hope to lead the squad and the offense. Lattner, who averaged 18.5 points per game and shot 45.4 percent is optimistic. “We were disappointed with our season last year,” Lattner said. “We are excited to get back out there and show people that we are a different, more experienced team.”
Last year, DePauw’s team lost nine games after leading by more than ten points in the second half. For Lattner, last year’s failures inform this season’s experience. “It should be better with most of our guys coming back,” Lattner said. “We have gained a lot more experience that should help us late in games this year.”
For the women’s team last year, they saw success in the regular season and in the NCAC, but were success was unable to translate it to wins in the NCAA tournament. The team finished with a record of 22-7 eventually falling to University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The team returns sophomore Maya Howard, last year’s Great Lakes Region Rookie of the Year. Howard believes the team’s work ethic will push it towards success. “This is a team that comes to practice ready to work every day,” Howard said. “We like to learn, push each other, and want feedback from our coaches, and I think that mentality and the hard work we are putting in are going to pay off this season.”
Howard’s 10.3 scoring average was the highest by a DePauw freshman since Ann Hall averaged 10.5 points during the 1996-97 season.
“I think on a personal level, I need to step up and be more of a leader for the team,” Howard said. “I’m not a freshman anymore and there are people who are looking up to me.”
The men’s team begin their season on Wednesday, Nov. 15 at Franklin College with tip-off at 7:30 p.m., while the women play Birmingham Southern College, Friday, Nov. 18th at 8:00 p.m.