CUW men not ready to relinquish NAC Top Spot
MEQUON, Wis.- Northern Athletics Conference coaches obviously paid attention to the fact that CUW lost seven outstanding seniors from their 3-time championship squad including all conference honorees Luke Doedens and Mitchell Schneider. The dynamic duo accounted for almost 40% (823 of 2000+) of the Concordia points last year.
Add in fellow seniors Nick Doedens (182), Erik Condia (125), Zach Neumann (95), David Lopez (92), and Matt Paluchniak (92) and you have graduated seventy percent of the points scored by Coach Shawn Cassidy's team last season.
That was probably the reason that four NAC North teams received more votes than Concordia Wisconsin in the annual pre-season coaches' poll.
"We lost some great players who left a legacy of success," admitted Cassidy, "but I have high hopes for this group too."
Leading the way in 2012-13 will be Brian Jackson and Steve Zielinski who worked their way into significant roles last year. Jackson, a scoring forward, tallied 247 points to finish third behind Luke Doedens and Schneider. Zielinski shot 60% from the floor and finished fifth in individual scoring with 135 points.
"Senior guards Casey Kegley and Bryan Donaldson have used their experience to lead the team to date," said Cassidy. "I am very happy with the progress of our 4 returning seniors in the way they have stepped up." This is an extremely hard working group and collectively they are very aware of what it will take to continue the tradition of Concordia Basketball.
"We are going to rely on a complete team effort every night in order to accomplish our goals. We have a large number of players who can all contribute in various ways. Fortunately, our reserve players from a year ago were forced to compete against last year's starters every day in practice which prepared them for a tough schedule this year."
Senior transfers Al Kahlfeldt, from Concordia- Chicago and Mark Pace from Benedictine also bring NAC experience to the line-up.
"We have only eight home games this season with so many tournaments," explained Cassidy. "We open at Carroll (a team that made it to the second round of the NCAA Nationals last season) and could play Buena Vista (another NCAA qualifier) on that same weekend."
CUW also will travel to Daytona, Florida for a pre-Christmas tournament (Dec. 19th and 20th) and to Wisconsin Dells to meet UW-Oshkosh and UW- Stout on the 29th and 30th of December. "With 10 games prior to the new year we will certainly know where we are at as we enter 2013."