A disturbing trend in the months leading up to the commencement of the basketball season has put the Bods behind the eight ball. Not only did the Ichabods lose standout player Travis Robbins to graduation, but they had several key players whose seasons were ended before they even started. A tumultuous summer for transfer Marquez Hayden ended with his dismissal from the team due to legal and personal issues. Shortly thereafter, guard Jerad Head chose to play professional baseball and is no longer on the team.
To make things worse, the injury bug bit the Bods early and often during early season practices. Sophomore transfer Adam Head is being red-shirted due to a shoulder injury he suffered in the off-season. Junior forward Kyle Snyder is out indefinitely due to a shoulder injury he sustained during practice. Sophomore forward Brady Sisk appears to be out three to four week with a strained calf.
Lastly, senior center Frank Phifer is done for the season with a broken foot. Coach Chipman had high expectations for Phifer, and realizes his loss is going to hinder the team at some point in the season.
“When we lost Frank, we lost our dominant post man, and an all-conference player. We are going to need Kris (Milburn) to step-up and use his experience to help lead this team.”
The lone healthy senior is guard Kris Milburn. Milburn has been with the team for three consecutive MIAA championships, and knows what it takes to win games. However, with few seniors, the Bods are looking for the underclassmen to step-up and contribute on a nightly basis. The addition of junior college transfers J.B. Wagner, Rashad Adams and Dylan Channel are expected to help give the team a boost.
“J.B. is so explosive, there’s no doubt he can get to the basket for us. We are expecting Rashad to play great this year. There’s no doubt these guys can play and score, we just need them to consistently contribute all year for us to have success,” said Coach Chipman.
Chipman also said that the potential for great guard play should help the Bods get some easy points off of transition and turnovers. Although the Bods expect to have players out of position, the team will rely on its athleticism, lack of post presence, and energy to create an upbeat tempo in their games. Coach Chipman commented about what kind of tactics fans can expect from the Ichabods.
“We’re going to see if running works. We want the game to have a quick tempo, since we have the potential for a great backcourt and we’re lacking in the low blocks. However, there will be nights where we will have to ease back on that approach and try to exploit some mismatches,” said Chipman.
Junior forward Adams appears to be the go-to-guy early on for the Bods.
“It’s great motivation for us. Instead of worrying about underachieving, we can use this to help us work on overachieving. With injuries, and everything, sure fifth seems logical, but we’re going to use it to work harder,” said Adams about the Bods’ fifth place ranking in the preseason MIAA conference standings.
Coach Chipman agrees with Adams and even finds other positives with it.
“I think fifth was pretty generous, considering our injuries and losing players. I’d get frustrated in years past, because we’d have guys get over-looked with the postseason awards, because we were expected to play so well. So it’s nice to actually have a chance for others not to take our play for granted. The polls are really there to help sell tickets and enhance the hype, and we’ve already sold out our season tickets, so we’ll just use it for motivation,” said Chipman.