Prior to we get with the Leathernecks at the start of Year 32, here’s a wrap-up of everything that took place the last two seasons:
- Year 30: We lost five video games in the non-conference schedule, ran the table in the Summit League, and won the conference competition once again. We earned a No. 12 seed to the NCAA competition at 28 -5 general. We dealt with Cal in the first round, and lost on a heartbreaking buzzer-beater.
- Year 30 recruiting: We recruited for four scholarships and landed 4 players. 81 general), C Kendric Morales (No. 137 total), C Stevie Strong (No.
- Year 31: We lost three games in the non-conference slate, once again went unbeaten in the Top League, and won the conference tournament. We earned a No. 6 seed to the huge dance. We beat Virginia in the preliminary and Clemson in the round of32 We then lost to Oklahoma State in overtime on another buzzer-beater. We had no available scholarships for prospective recruits.
There are just 9 years left in our profession at Western Illinois.
Our last nationwide champion was way back in Year 28 We begin the year No.
Let’s satisfy the beginning lineup:
- PG Rashaun Diggs, redshirt senior, 90 total: Diggs is a pint-sized 5’11 point player with excellent outside shooting capability. He’s the best three-point shooter on the group and one of the very best shooters we have actually had in program history. He’s more a scorer than a lead facilitator, and we’re a bit anxious about his death and ball handling in the competition. The interest in his size aren’t simply limited to his height: at 169 pounds, he simply does not have the physicality to play through contact. How he holds up defensively in the competition will be a big concern. Former No. 154 general hire out of Colorado Springs.
- SG Dave French, redshirt senior, 93 general: French was a first-class international hire out of New Zealand who moved from point player to shooting guard upon getting here in Macomb. He’s has an excellent all-around offensive capability, existing as our best ball handling and passer, and our second best three-point shooter behind Diggs. He’s going to need to be our go-to star on the perimeter if we’re going to make a run to national title No. 8. Projected lotto pick.
- SF Spanky Fanning, redshirt junior, 90 total: Fanning is a 6′ 6 wing who does not have a signature ability. He isn’t a knockdown shooter or a high-flying rim attacker on offense, which has made his fit into our postseason lineup something of a question mark. Instead, Fanning tasks as this group’s best glue guy, who can break journalism as a ball handler, make some smart passes, and hold his own defensively. Former No. 92 total hire out of Davis, CA.
- PF Mitch Hunter, redshirt senior, 92 total: Hunter was overlooked as a recruit, however we thought he had sleeper potential since of his massive frame and rebounding capability. He was a nightly double-double machine in our competition run last year so let’s see him do it again. 201 general hire out of Atlanta.
- C Vinnie Harmon, redshirt junior, 90 overall: Harmon was our 2nd leading scorer last year as 6th guy. Harmon has A rankings in inside and mid-range scoring, and is beginning to develop a three-ball. 122 general prospect and No. 8 center out of Cincinnati
We’re also really delighted about our young bench. Without any scholarships to offer out last season and four redshirt freshmen signing up with the rotation, we ought to have one of our inmost groups ever. Our bench will be led by two stud redshirt sophomore guards. Randolph Pompey is a 6′ 7 point guard who is an above typical three-point shooter and on-ball protector, while being only average as a passer and ball handler. Scott Doornekamp made minutes in the competition last season as a 6′ 6 wing who can really shoot. We think both ought to make a huge effect for us in March.
Pompey and Doornekamp will be joined by 6′ 8 RS sophomore power forward Ernesto Mack and three redshirt freshmen on the bench: 7-foot center Stevie Strong, 6’10 power forward Kendric Morales, 6′ 6 small forward D.J. Stapleton, and 6′ 5 shooting guard Rob Borchardt.
This is a huge year for recruiting with four readily available scholarships. We decide to provide these four players:
- PG Arvydas Hardy, No. 12 overall and No. 6 at his position, from Mesa, AZ
- SF Reece Mascoll, No. 40 general and No. 4 at his position, from Riverside, CA
- PF Al Reece, No. 138 general and No. 19 at his position, from Glendale, AZ
- C Felipe Hopes, No. 139 total and No. 8 at his position, from Federal Way, WA
Hardy would be the 2nd highest-rated possibility in program history if we can land him. Mascoll is currently 6′ 8 and posted a high three-point percentage in AAU. Reece is a 6’11 power forward, and Hopes appears like an efficient 6’11 center. Let’s cross our fingers.
Expectations are sky-high as a top-10 team preseason. Let’s go!
How did the non-conference slate go?
0-2 is not how we wanted to begin the year.
Then we began to fume. We beat DePaul behind 19 points from Harmon. We knocked off Oregon State behind 24 points from Diggs and 21 points from French. We beat Illinois behind 19 from Harmon and 13 from French. We beat Wichita State behind 27 from Harmon, and then beat No. 12 Dayton behind 23 from Harmon and 17 from Diggs.
All of a sudden we were headed into conference season at 11 -2 on the year. Before we enter conference play, we have the early finalizing duration deadline in recruiting. Can we land any of our targets before the offseason?
Two in-season recruits!
Hardy is the huge reward. As the No. 12 general recruit, he becomes our 2nd greatest rated hire ever. Mascoll also looks awesome as the type of big wing with shooting ability that we’ve constructed this program around. Here’s the list of every top-30 general prospect we’ve recruited to Western Illinois because the series began, through the remarkable Leatherneck Recruiting Database(features some spoilers if you click through if you have not been viewing the Twitch streams).
Even better, we’re likewise tracking to land Hopes and Reece at the end of the season. I can’t remember another time where we’ve landed our 4 initial recruiting targets. This could be a big, big class, and it’s currently off to a fantastic start.
Now: can we run the table in the Top once again?
Did we go unbeaten in Top League play?
Yes we did. We once again entered the conference tournament with an ideal 18 -0 record in the Summit League.
We defeated IUPUI, 94-65, in the Summit League tournament championship game to punch our ticket to the huge dance when again. We will enter the tournament at 28 -2 on the season.
Here’s a take a look at the end of season stats:
Harmon averaging almost 20 points and more than seven rebounds per video game as a first-year starter is damn excellent. He’s now projected as a first round choice, and I’m praying he returns for his senior year. Diggs and French both averaging more than 13 points per game is also excellent to see. Hunter was again a trustworthy as a scorer, and Doornekamp came off the bench to typical double-figures.
17 in the surveys on the last week of the season as we clinched the auto-bid.
2039 NCAA competition
We earned a No. 6 see to the NCAA tournament. Our first round challenger is No. 11 seed West Virginia.
Here’s a look at our upgraded roster heading into the tournament:
Win, 106-74! We’re back in the Final 4!
The Houston guards couldn’t handle our press, and we were able to get so many totally free baskets by causing turnovers.
Borchardt is a 6′ 5 shooting guard who is more of a natural shooter, and he went 3-of-5 from deep.
The starting lineup just feels like it’s peaking the correct time today. We have an excellent inside-out enhance with French and Doornkamp assaulting from the boundary around Harmon and Hunter’s within scoring touch. Pompey is likewise appearing like a really strong competition floor general. Being 6′ 7 as a point guard sure assists.
Now we remain in the Last Four facing No. 1 seed Ole Miss
You will keep in mind that we have 5 gamers ranked in the 90 s, but only Dave French (96 general) is at or above94 Here’s how the two teams matchup:
Yep, both groups are ranked a 100 in general. Ole Miss is a 100 in every classification but Group Unity! They have an edge on us there, too.
This is going to be our biggest test yet. We’re two wins far from title No. 8. Let’s go!
Loss, 90-84! And just like that, our season is over.
I thought we had them in the very first half. French struck a standard jumper just before the halftime buzzer, and we headed into the break with a six-point lead. We were even for the majority of the 2nd half, however our offense broke down in the last 3 minutes. I do believe the much better group won.
French was so, so good throughout this entire season as our senior star. He could not purchase a container in his last video game. He ended up 4-of-15 shooting from the field for only 11 points. We required more out of him and he couldn’t deliver. It occurs, he still had an excellent season and an excellent profession.
On the plus side, Pompey, our 6′ 7 RS sophomore point player, was brilliant, ending up with 23 points and 10 helps. He looks all set for the big-time next season. Doornekamp also looks fantastic after dropping 20 points. It was a strangely peaceful night for Harmon. Maybe he’ll return next year now?
Onto the offseason. The imagine title No. 8 is deferred for another year.
- Ole Miss wins the national championship after knocking off NC State in the title game.
- Vinnie Harmon wins Summit League Player of the Year as a junior.
- Dave French, Rashaun Diggs, and Mitch Hunter all graduate and get drafted into the NBA. Harmon is coming back! Very amazing.
- My profession record is now 909-185 with seven championship games at age57 I turn down every inbound task offer.
- We lost another assistant and replaced him with Coach Fitzwater who is ranked an A- in offense, an A- in teaching, and a B in defense.
12 overall) and Mascoll (No.
I’m very delighted for Reece. He’s rated as the No. 138 general recruit and the No. 19 power forward, however we think he can out-perform that ranking since of his size and production on the AAU circuit. At 6’11, 248 pounds, he’s already huge for a 4 and might grow even taller. He also averaged a double-double and had high block and take rates during the summer. He’s going to be legit.
The last gamer we’ve been chasing after from the really start of the season is 6’11 center Felipe Hopes out of Federal Way, Washington. He dedicates the next week:
Hopes is the No. 8 total center possibility. He seems like a bet on his long-term tools rather than his present-day production. We believe he’s going to be actually great down the line.
What a terrific recruiting class– among our finest ever. As we sim through the recruiting duration, our incoming recruiting class is ranked No. 5 in the country. Hell yeah. I understood Ricky Charisma could discover the magic on the recruiting trail once again late in his career.
Now it’s time to set the schedule for next year. We opt for:
@ Michigan, Great Alaskan Shootout, vs. St. John’s, @ Ole Miss, @ Florida, @ Stanford, vs. South Florida, @ San Francisco, Gossner Foods Vacation Class, vs. Illinois State.
Here’s a very first take a look at our roster in Year33 Spoiler alert: the scores show the lineup as it headed into the NCAA tournament.
We start the new season ranked No. 13 in the preseason polls.
We’re redshirting all 4 of the true freshmen, and we’re very delighted about their future. Here’s where they was available in at:
- PG Arvydas Hardy, 79 overall, C- potential: 6′ 3 point guard from Mesa, AZ becomes our second highest-rated recruit over as No. 12 total and No. 6 at his position.
- SF Reece Mascoll, 80 overall, C capacity: 6′ 8 small forward from Riverside, CA looks fantastic but he’s only ranked as a 70 in three-point shooting which is a little frustrating. 40 total hire, No. 4 at his position.
- PF Al Reece, 75 overall, C- capacity: 6’11 power forward from Glendale, AZ was rated No. 138 in general, No.
- C Felipe Hopes, 74 in general, B potential: 6’11 center from Federal Method, WA was rated No. 139 general and No. 8 at his position.
This will actually be our competition run in Year 34, because I’m running a little behind on wrap-ups.
Watch Western Illinois’ Year 34 competition run
What: Western Illinois’ Year 34 NCAA tournament run, starting in the Sugary food 16
When: Monday, Feb. 15 at 8: 30 p.m. ET.
Where: My Twitch stream