Last year, the Ichabod basketball team finished with an overall record of 18-11 and 9-9 in conference, a 10-game swing from the 2006-2007 season, which saw them finishing 8-19. Even though the Bods didn’t have a great post season, the turnaround can be viewed as a step in the right direction.
As the season approached, the coaching staff had practically a new team with tremendous talent, which is something that doesn’t ensure a winning season but drastically improves any team’s chances.
The season began with a very tough schedule; facing three Division I opponents: KU, UMKC and UNLV. Even though these games resulted in losses for the Bods, they showed signs they could become a dominant team.
After losing the first three, the team went on to win the next eight games and entered December No. 26 in the nation. However, things got more difficult once conference play began.
“I’m not sure what one thing happened, it could have been losing players during that time or overconfidence after being ranked,”said junior Moriba Decoteau, who remembers all too clearly the improbable turnaround that the team underwent.
After such a rough start in conference play, the Bods were within reach of the MIAA tournament championship, making it to the semifinals in Kansas City. Meanwhile, across the MIAA, Southwest Baptist was making some noise of their own and had other plans as to who the champions would be.
The Bearcats ended up being last year’s MIAA champion followed by Northwest Missouri State and Central Missouri. Washburn finished fifth in the regular season, and was first in rebounding margin with +6, second in scoring margin with +9, and third in 3-point percentage. Even though no Washburn players made the all-MIAA first or second team, senior Kyle Snyder made the honorable mention list.
Then new assistant coach Matt Keeley believes that last year’s team underachieved based on the personnel that was present, but also points out how loaded the conference was.
“Every night was an extremely tough game, there was never a night off,” Keeley said. “As a coach we don’t spend much time looking at what we could have done instead we think about how to get better.”
This year’s team again features a revamped lineup, and has brought in a whopping 10 new players, which adds depth to the Ichabods, the likes of which didn’t exist last season. From last year’s squad, eight players return and if Moriba Decoteau’s thoughts are correct, the Ichabods are set to have an impressive season.
He believes that especially behind this year’s set of returning seniors Darnell Kimble, Paul Byers and James Williams pending his clearance, the Bods are poised to play late into the post season and subsequently bring back the glory days of old.