MBB: Returning starters look to lead this team deep in MAC

The men’s basketball team is excited and grateful to return to the court for their first real season in two years. Last year, the team was only able to compete in nine games due to COVID-19, scoring 4-5 in this abbreviated season.

“I’m looking forward to the full 25 game schedule and the opportunity for our guys to have a normal season,” said head coach Izzi Metz. “Last year obviously, we were grateful to play any games last year, but you know this is going to be, hopefully, much more than normal.”

Even though the team was not able to play a complete season last year, the benefits of having even a partial season will show up in games this year.

“We didn’t think we would play last year, but we ended up getting nine games and a couple of practices,” said Metz. “I think just getting that chemistry with each other on the court, and in pick-up game opportunities after the season allowed our guys to get to know each other’s games. We were able to see some success on the court in game situations, and I think that was beneficial had we not played or practiced at all. I think this allowed us to get a little further ahead than expected.”

Metz has been coaching at Wilkes for eight seasons. For the first time in his coaching stint at Wilkes, Metz was named a captain to the program.

“We’ve never had a captain in my time here,” said Metz. “I felt like it was the right time and that our team could get a nice boost from Sean Coller being our captain. Sean just really stood out to us as a leader by example and not afraid to communicate with his teammates and the coaches. I think he has a universal respect within the program. I think it was a natural selection to have Sean as our captain.”

Coller is a two-year starter and a senior with one of the most consistent stat lines from year to year. Coller discussed his excitement for the new role and emphasized being a steady hand that the team can depend on this season.

“It’s an honor. When coach talked to me about it, I was really proud that he would even consider me for that,” said Coller. “I just want to fulfill that role and lead our team. As a captain, I am obviously a leader, but I know I am not the only one leading.”

In addition to the leadership found in Coller, two crucial pieces for the Colonels’ offense and defense return in the form of senior guard Drake Marshall and sophomore forward Trent Fisher.

“Drake is a senior now, and has a lot of experience,” said Metz. “We want him to lead and we think he can be the most complete wing-guard player in the conference because he has the ability to guard any position on the court with his length and athleticism. He is a scorer and makes hard shots. We want him to play a complete game on both sides of the ball every game and inspire his teammates.”

Marshall is coming off a hot season, averaging 14.8 points per game and 5.8 rebounds per game. Marshall’s deadly shot was crucial in closing games for the Colonels. His efforts in the season placed him on the First Team All-MAC Freedom.

“With Trent, we want him to keep progressing and getting better,” said Metz. “I think more game experience will be good. He showed a lot of growth and showed signs of what he can do last year. Hopefully he will keep expanding his game and continue to grow—he has a really high ceiling.”

Fisher, the returning rookie of the year, showed that he has potential coming up this season. Coming off an ankle injury in the preseason, Fisher was slow out of the gates. However, when he got cooking, he became an indispensable asset for Wilkes. In the seven games that Fisher appeared in, he was their second leading scorer with 13.4 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per game. Early signs of what this young player could do gleamed through in their contest against Del Val where the rook put up a near double-double with 23 points and nine rebounds.

“For myself I’m looking to improve my game in all aspects of the game, including shooting the ball better from the outside and becoming a much better defender,” said Fisher. “I am definitely going to strive to be a first team all-league and potentially fight for the player of the year honor. This year should be a fun one for all of us.”

Coller, Marshall and Fisher, alongside their teammates, kick off their season next week on Nov. 10 at Clarks Summit University at 8 p.m.

The Beacon/Ariel Reed – Sophomore forward Trent Fisher sweeps the ball over the head of an Arcadia defender to get an open pass on Feb. 20.