The Augustana College men's basketball team had a 2010-11 season that will be hard to match. |
The Vikings went 27-4, shared the CCIW regular-season title, ran away with the CCIW Tournament championship and lost an NCAA Div. III Elite 8 game to eventual champ St. Thomas.
Only graduating three seniors and one starter from that group, and returning 11 lettermen, this season is setting up to potentially be a repeat run for Coach Grey Giovanine and his Vikings. A lot of people have high expectations for the team as they are ranked No. 2 in the D3hoops.com preseason poll and No. 3 by The Sporting news.
"Obviously we will be a different team," said Bettendorf product Troy Rorer, "but we will still be Augustana."
Which means focusing on daily accomplishments, not goals targeted for the end of the season.
"Our motto for the season is grind every day," said senior point guard Brian DeSimone. "We're coming out every day and not looking toward March just yet. It's still a long ways away."
Giovanine said his central idea for the season to keep his team focused on the short-term was the phrase "daily grind.''
"I actually showed them pictures of the Grand Canyon and how spectacular it is," said Giovanine, noting he impressed upon his players that it was carved by a daily grind and not created overnight.
Any success will be built around what Rorer called "the pillars of the program" -- defense, rebounding and running. Those three things haven't changed no matter the expectations or personnel.
"I think our three captains (Bryant Voiles, DeSimone and Rorer) really understand that and embrace the fact that it's a journey," said Giovanine, noting they provide great leadership.
Those three seniors, classmates Chris Anderson, Eric Safranski and Griffin Dwyer, a loaded junior class, three sophomores and freshman guard Danielius Jurgutis could be on the road for quite a ride.
The juniors -- Bettendorf's George Dexter, Luke Scarlata, Kameron Norton, Brandon Kunz and Kevin Waibel -- will be asked to carry much of the load on the inside to pick up the slack for graduated All-CCIW performer Kyle Nelson.
"In terms of depth and experience, this is as good a group as we've had coming into a season," said Giovanine.
"Last year was last year and was a great run," said Voiles. "We have a little bit more experience this year because of that run last year and because of that, who knows what can happen."
It could lead to another season that could be difficult to match by Viking teams to come.
2011-12 Augie men's hoops
- Coaches: Grey Giovanine begins his 13th season at Augustana and has a record there of 226-93. In the CCIW, his teams are 114-54 and have won five league titles, including last season. He is assisted by Tom Jesse, Dallas Duwa and Rick Harrigan.
- Returning lettermen: Seniors: Chris Anderson (6-4, G, West Carroll), *Brian DeSimone (6-1, G, Buffalo Grove), Griffin Dwyer (6-1, G, Arlington Heights Hersey), *Troy Rorer (6-2, G, Bettendorf), Eric Safranski (6-0, G, Putnam County), *Bryant Voiles (6-9, F, Byron). Juniors: George Dexter (6-7, F, Bettendorf), Brandon Kunz (6-7, C, Lake Zurich), Kameron Norton (6-7, C, Downers Grove), Luke Scarlata (6-9, C, Morton West), Kevin Waibel (6-7, C, Morton). * -- captains.
- Others to watch: Sophomores: Sam Calcagno (5-9, G, Rochester, Minn.), Austin Lusson (6-2, G, LaGrange-Lyons Township), Kevin Schlitter (6-8, C, Maine South). Freshman: Danielius Jurgutis (6-0, F, G, Downers Grove South).
- Schedule: NOVEMBER: 3 at Valparaiso (exhibition), 7 p.m.; 15 Aurora, 7:30 p.m.; 19 St. Norbert, 7:30 p.m.; 22 at UW-Oshkosh, 7 p.m.; 29 at St. Ambrose, 7:30 p.m. DECEMBER: 2-3 at Washington University (vs. Wisconsin Lutheran, 4 p.m./vs. Whittier or Washington, 4 or 8 p.m.); 6 Fontbonne, 7:30 p.m.; 10 UW-Stevens Point, 7:30 p.m.; 14 Chicago, 7:30 p.m.; 19 at Knox, 7:30 p.m.; 30 MacMurray, 7:30 p.m. JANUARY: 4 at *Millikin, 7:30 p.m.; 7 *North Central, 7:30 p.m.; 10 at *Illinois Wesleyan, 7:30 p.m.; 14 at *Elmhurst, 8 p.m.; 17 *North Park, 7:30 p.m.; 21 *Carthage, 7:30 p.m.; 24 *Wheaton, 7:30 p.m.; 28 *Millikin, 7:30 p.m.; 31 *Illinois Wesleyan, 7:30 p.m. FEBRUARY: 4 at *North Central, 7:30 p.m.; 7 at *North Park, 7:30 p.m.; 11 *Elmhurst , 7:30 p.m.; 18 at *Carthage, 7:30 p.m.; 21 at *Wheaton, 7:30 p.m.; 24 CCIW Tournament semifinal, TBA; 25 CCIW Tournament championship, TBA, 7:30 p.m.