Bluffton hopes to be reloaded for 2001-02 seasonOctober 25, 2001
Hopes are high that the expression "reloaded" will describe the 2001-02 men's basketball program at Bluffton College after graduation took a huge bite out of the squad that finished 16-9 last season and finished just one game back of the Heartland Conference regular season title.
|Senior Rod Overmyer was a first team All-HCAC selection last season.|
Head Coach Guy Neal, now in his 13th season, must replace five of his top seven scorers from last season that accounted for 64% of the scoring. Those two returning players, however, just happen to be two of the best three-point shooting threats in the HCAC in senior wing Rod Overmyer and sophomore guard Scott Remaklus.
Overmyer, a first team All-HCAC selection last season, ranked second in the league in three-pointers last season with 55, and he ranked sixth in three-point percentage, while Remaklus ranked sixth in treys with 45, which stands as the most ever at Bluffton by a freshman.
|Senior co-captain Kevin Grey has proven to be a spark at both ends of the court.|
Big shoes remain to be filled, however, with the departure of Ben Coole, Chad Cramer, Jeremy Roberts and Chris Sheldon to graduation and Travis Elsass to chiropractic school. Roberts was a two-time All-HCAC selection and scored 1,399 points in his career at BC, while Cramer (11.9 ppg, 6.6 rpg) and Elsass (14.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg) were both named honorable mention all-league last season. Sheldon (5.6 ppg, 97 assists) led the team in assists the past two seasons (and the HCAC as a junior) and was the Beavers' floor general for the past three years.
Those five players combined for 208 starts over the last two seasons, while the remaining 42 starts were distributed between Overmyer (20), Remaklus (15), 1999-00 senior Darnell Parker (1) and this year's senior co-captain Kevin Grey (6), who will share those captaining duties with junior Marcus Bixler.
|Junior Derek DeNero ranks third among returning scorers and will be counted on to replace some of the offense that graduated from last year's squad.|
Grey (2.1 ppg) and Bixler (1.0 ppg) played in 21 games apiece last season and provided a spark at both ends of the court. Both players have stepped up their game to help replace the talent that departed after last season.
In addition to Overmyer, Remaklus, Grey and Bixler, four other players return from last year's squad, including 6-0 junior guard Derek DeNero, 6-4 sophomore center Aaron Markley, 6-3 junior center Mike Leimeister and 5-11 sophomore wing Ryan White. DeNero saw action in 23 varsity games last season, averaging 3.6 points per game and 1.8 rebounds per game. Markley saw limited action due to injuries, while Leimeister and White gained experience on the junior varsity squad.
Eight newcomers join the program this season and will factor into the varsity equation immediately as the squad size for 2001-02 stands at 16 players. Headlining the list of first-year players are a pair of All-Ohio selections in 5-11 guard Gabe Denning (Payne/Wayne Trace) and 6-2 wing Bryce Beilharz (Bluffton/Cory-Rawson). Denning led his squad to Ohio's Final Four last season in Division III and was named to the All-State Tournament Team, while Beilharz earned third-team All-Ohio honors.
Height is also present among this year's first year players, which include 6-6 post Beau Adair, 6-2 wing Brad Boyles (Berne, Ind./South Adams), 6-4 wing Chris Keesey (Swanton), 6-5 wing Brad Mallon (Batavia), 6-4 post David Schwartz (New Bremen) and 5-8 guard Ken Vana (Bay Village/Bay).