Getting ready: Opener approaches for JimmiesIt may seem early for basketball, but with the season-opener just one week away, Justin Wieck and the Jimmies are getting down to business. With a new head coach, new assistant coaches and a bunch of new players, there’s plenty to do before Brandon (Manitoba) comes to the Civic Center Oct. 12.
By: By Dave Selvig, The Jamestown Sun, The Jamestown Sun
It may seem early for basketball, but with the season-opener just one week away, Justin Wieck and the Jimmies are getting down to business.
With a new head coach, new assistant coaches and a bunch of new players, there’s plenty to do before Brandon (Manitoba) comes to the Civic Center Oct. 12.
“We’re all kind of in the same boat,” Wieck said. “I’m learning them and they’re trying to get accustomed to my system and how we’re going to do things.
“The guys are working hard. The energy and competition level in practice has been really high. Obviously, we have a long way to go, but we’ve gotten off to a good start.”
Wieck was hired in August to replace Matt Murken, who took the same job at Minot State following a 25-7 season.
The Jimmies opened practice on Monday and name tags could have been in order.
Juniors Mark Hoge and Davon Thomas, and senior Jared Sutherland are the only three players returning that saw significant time last season. Hoge averaged 8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game, while Thomas made an instant impact in his first year in the program, accounting for 10.6 points per night, third-most on the team.
Sophomores Taylor Newton and Beny Collins saw limited action last year, but Wieck said all five returning players have helped ease the transition.
“They’ve played well in practice and they’ve stepped up from a leadership standpoint besides their play on the court,” Wieck said.
Hoge and Thomas have excelled in the early goings as expected. Both are athletic wing players and will be counted on for even more scoring this season. Some of the other names are unfamiliar for now, but Wieck is pleased with what he’s seen.
“I’m impressed with the talent on the team. We’re really young inside, but we have some really nice players to work with,” Wieck said. “We’re grinding every day. Obviously, it’s going to be a work in progress, but there are a lot of nice things in place.”
As many as seven freshmen could enter into the mix, including several familiar names like former Blue Jays Nate Willer and Dyllan Anderson. Willer, Dan Janu and Collins are all competing for minutes inside where the high-flying shoes of Travis Burley need to be replaced.
Former LaMoure all-state performer Aaron Stemen is back after a couple of injury-plagued seasons. Athletic guard Andre Maund, who earned all-state honors at Bismarck Century, also is on the roster.
While he’s trying to put a team together on the floor, Wieck also is getting situated in Jamestown. He and his family will move into their house at the end of the month.
“It’s exciting and busy, but we really like the community,” Wieck said. “You can tell there’s a lot of excitement for basketball, which is great to see.”
Sun sports editor Dave Selvig can be reached at (701) 952-8460 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org