HLeague 2016-17 Preview the Season: 8. Wright State; 7. Northern Kentucky

8. Wright State Raiders

Raiders Look for Identity with New Coach

This year’s Wright State team looks much different than last year’s team that lost in the Horizon League title game. JT Yoho, Michael Karena, Joe Thomasson, and Biggie Minnis are all gone. That leaves junior Mark Alstork as the unquestioned leader and best player of this team. The defensive-minded Raiders

Scott Nagy is entering his first season as head coach at Wright State, after 21 seasons in the same position at South Dakota State.

will look for a bit more offense under new head coach Scott Nagy. After all, his South Dakota State team led the Summit League in scoring in the 2012-13 season.  Junior Grant Benzinger and Sophomore Mark Hughes saw a lot of game action last season, and will be key contributors again this season. The biggest concern for the Raiders is their frontcourt. 6’8” Senior forward Steven Davis missed all of last season with an injury. 6’11” redshirt sophomore Parker Ernsthausen is likely to start at center, and true freshmen Loudon Love and Ryan Custer will likely see minutes in the frontcourt. Expect a big year from Alstork, as he should contend for a spot on the All-League First Team. He takes good shots and efficiently drives past many defenders to the basket.   Projected H-League Record: 6-12

 

 

7. Northern Kentucky Norse

NKU Looks to Build on Positives from Last Season

Northern Kentucky lost one of the nation’s most efficient players, Jalen Billups, to graduation. With Tyler White also being gone, that means the Norse lost their top two scorers from last season. But Head Image result for northern kentucky basketballCoach John Brannen brings back a lot of talent, as his team looks to avoid the H-League sophomore slump. The Norse had some impressive wins last season, along with some head-scratching losses.  Cole Murray, Lavone Holland, and Drew McDonald each averaged about 10 points per game last season, and they are all back. Don’t be surprised if McDonald really has a big year, as he will replace Billups as the team’s go-to big man. What makes the Norse dangerous is that they can also hurt you on the perimeter, led by prolific three-point shooter Murray. Alabama-transfer Jeff Garrett could be a big X-factor. The Norse have an exciting style of play, and it is only a matter of time until they are consistently an upper echelon H-League team.   Projected H-League Record: 7-11

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