Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Men’s basketball replaces three key seniors with young talent

Junior captain Chris Faidley goes up for the shot at SaturdayThe Whitman men’s basketball team won their home opener on Saturday over the University of Great Falls 81-67. Junior captain Chris Faidley easily covered half of the team’s total himself, scoring 42 points. As a result, the team’s record swelled to 2-2 for the year.

Despite early success, the team is still concerned with replacing high performing recent graduates Kyle Born, Aaron Hazel and Ian Warner.

“Born was runner up player of the year in our conference, Warner was a three year starter and Hazel led the league in field goal percentage, so we lost a lot,” said Head Coach Skip Molitor, “but with that being said we’re really excited in particular about some of our younger guys stepping in and being really exciting to watch, and I feel really comfortable with our talent level even though we lost three real good players.”

Faidley has been a key scorer early in the season. So far, he has contributed to the team’s success by scoring more than 30 points in three out of four games

“I’m trying to be a little more aggressive offensively,” said Faidley. “I feel like if I’m a threat on the floor, it provides openings for my teammates.”

Those openings will be key this year because as retired psychology professor and Whitman super fan Steve Rubin pointed out, the team will need more than just Faidley if they want to be competitive.

“Right now we just have one option, and if Chris Faidley gets injured or in foul trouble, we need to find more scoring. So I still wait to see some of these people develop,” said Rubin.

Sophomore center Graham Brewer is trying to develop into the double-double machines Born and Hazel were last year. Perhaps as a signal of things to come, Brewer switched his number to Born’s old 34 and netted 14 points along with 11 rebounds in Saturday’s home opener. Brewer also scored 19 points against Kyle Born himself during Whitman’s alumni game.

“I’m trying to fill that gap that was Kyle Born and Aaron Hazel as a scoring threat down low,” said Brewer. “I’m just getting better at what I was doing before, really just working on making myself as big a threat as possible so Chris Faidley has a little bit of freedom to dominate.”

Besides Brewer in the post, Jordan Wheeler has taken over the point guard position that Ian Warner vacated. On Saturday, along with Faidley and Brewer, Wheeler scored in double-digits with 14 points and recorded Whitman’s only dunk of the evening.

In an interview, Wheeler talked about how the team as a whole is trying to replace Warner.

“We all get along really well, we play really well together and so I think given all those factors, we’re really excited about this basketball season,” said Wheeler.

One reason for that excitement is the energy that comes with a young team. Whitman will lose only one senior this year in captain Garth Brandal, and as a result of the team’s youth, Brandal has had to step up this year.

“As a captain, I have to play a leadership role, and since I was hurt at the start of the year, I haven’t been able to lead by playing, but I’m just trying to encourage the guys to perform at their best,” said Brandal.

However, the youth on the squad has also garnered a lot of excitement in some of the team’s players.

“I like having a young team just because you know you’re going to be with the same group of guys for the next two or three years and you can develop and get to play really well together by the end of your career,” said sophomore Jordan Brandon.

The team’s next chance to show its development will come on Saturday, Dec. 8, at home against Evergreen State College at 4 p.m.

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