Wilkes University’s men’s basketball: Survive and advance

With two weeks until the season starts, the Colonels Men’s Basketball team looks to go a step further than it did last season. The Colonels were denied a trip to the conference tournament last year after a loss to Kings College in the last game of the season.

Head Coach Izzi Metz is entering his second season in charge of the program after a 12-13 record last year. He looks at a team that can do some great things this year.

“Every day in practice we are always telling the team to get better,” he said. “While trying to get better you always want to have the right schemes that will make plays develop and make the team successful.”

This year’s team returns a core of players that are looking to make a deep postseason run. Senior guard Alec Wizar is ready to see what they can accomplish.

“The team’s ceiling is incredibly high, we have a lot of talented players returning mixed with a very deep freshman class,” he said. “Everyone is excited about the possibilities, and willing to work to achieve them.”

Metz is also impressed with sophomore forward Zachery Brunner who burst on to the scene in his Freshman season averaging 11 points per game, and just more than five rebounds per game. Brunner is ready to take the next step this season and become a leader.

“This year I see myself improving my game all around and doing whatever it may be to help the team,” Brunner said. “I also see myself as more of a leader this year to the team.”

Even though this is a team that looks like it has compiled a complete roster, there is still a lot of work to be done in order to be successful.

Last year the Colonels offense finished third in the Freedom Conference with 73.3 points per game. Although they were a scoring machine, they still had problems. Last season the Colonels attempted 463 free throws last year which was dead last in the conference.

Metz is gearing the squad to not only score as many points as they did last year, but also capitalize on other opportunities.

He believes that getting to the foul line will help the team in multiple ways.

“Improve our half court defense is a key improvement needed this year,” he said. “On offense we have to get to the foul line more so we can not only score more points, but to set up our defense.”

Conference play will be what decides if the Colonels get over the hump and make it to the conference tournament. In this year’s preseason poll, the Colonels are projected to finish fifth. Although Coach Metz does participate in the poll, he does not take it to heart.

“I don’t put a lot of stock into it,” He explains. “I’ve seen teams that are ranked first collapse or struggle, and I have seen teams that are ranked eighth win the conference.”

The Colonels must be ready and prepared for every conference game; because they know your schemes, and they will find a weak point. If this team is able to build a good defense to help its high powered offense, the Colonels should have a very successful season.

he Wilkes Men’s Basketball team tipped off the start of their season with a scrimmage this past Wednesday.
he Wilkes Men’s Basketball team tipped off the start of their season with a scrimmage this past Wednesday.