Nothing But Net

Jun 17th, 2013 | By admin | Category: Sports

BY Steven Kramer

With the loss of Chris Dou­glas and Dar­rell John­son to grad­u­a­tion and a slew of new­com­ers thrown into the fray, not many knew what to expect from the 2012–13 men’s bas­ket­ball team. An impres­sive sum­mer trip to Mon­treal changed all of that as the improve­ment of vet­eran play­ers like David Lan­gan, Eric Selby and Quincy Pet­ti­ford was quite evi­dent. From there, the Wolver­ines knew they might have some­thing spe­cial as return­ing All-CAC per­former Paul Reynolds pre­pared for his senior season.

Paul Reynolds

What con­cluded was Wesley’s first ever 20-win sea­son, a pro­gram record 11-game win­ning streak, which included vic­to­ries over No. 1 Vir­ginia Wes­leyan, ninth-ranked St. Mary’s, and 2011-12 National runner-up Cabrini. In the midst of the win­ning streak, head coach Jerry Kobasa was named the Divi­sion III National Coach of the Month for Jan­u­ary. Reynolds was voted as the CAC and ECAC Player of the Year and earned All-America recog­ni­tion from three dif­fer­ent publications.

Reynolds was also selected to play in the Divi­sion III National All-Star Game, where he scored 20 points and helped the East All-Star team to a blowout vic­tory over the West. Lan­gan also earned First Team All CAC hon­ors, mark­ing the first time that two Wolver­ine play­ers were named to the First Team.

Wes­ley got quite a boost from fresh­man Wayne Lennon, who was named the CAC and Mid-Atlantic Region Rookie of the Year. Mid­way through the sea­son, starter Jacquard Hagan, who aver­aged over 11.8 points, went down with a season-ending injury, allow­ing Lennon more play­ing time. Lennon sub­se­quently earned Fresh­man All-America acco­lades at the end of the season.

Three straight wins to open the sea­son, fol­lowed by two nar­row losses to ranked teams, gave many in Dover room for opti­mism. Reynolds was his usual, highly effi­cient self early on, but David Lan­gan showed that he was also a dom­i­nant force, aver­ag­ing a double-double which included a CAC-record 23 rebounds against Christo­pher Newport.

An early CAC loss to York (Penn­syl­va­nia) opened the eyes of many play­ers on the Wolver­ines squad as stu­dents went home for win­ter break. The defeat must have been a bless­ing in dis­guise, as Wes­ley started its record-breaking streak with a pair of over­time vic­to­ries over East­ern Men­non­ite and Bridge­wa­ter (Vir­ginia) on Dec. 14–15. What fol­lowed shortly after was a win over local rival Wash­ing­ton Col­lege and an upset vic­tory over top-ranked Vir­ginia Wesleyan.

The Wolver­ines opened the 2013 cal­en­dar year with six straight vic­to­ries, includ­ing a Jan. 2 win over Cabrini, before falling to St. Mary’s on the road on Jan. 30. Going 9–3 in the CAC, Wes­ley received a first round bye and a home game against Sal­is­bury in the CAC Semi­fi­nals. Double-doubles by Reynolds and Lan­gan helped the Navy & White defeat the Sea Gulls for the 14th time in the last 15 meet­ings before an over­time loss at St. Mary’s in the cham­pi­onship game.

Defeat­ing Sal­is­bury gave Wes­ley its 20th win of the year and the NCAA Selec­tion Com­mit­tee rewarded the Wolver­ines with an NCAA Tour­na­ment berth and a trip to the No. 7 Williams Col­lege Eph­men. Despite lead­ing at half­time and a career high 35 points by Paul Reynolds, who was later ref­er­enced nation­ally as the “Charles Barkley of Divi­sion III,” the Wolver­ines fell to the Ephs by a sin­gle point.

Despite los­ing Reynolds, the Wolver­ines’ first all-time rebounder and sec­ond lead­ing scorer, the future looks bright for Wes­ley. Both Lan­gan and Lennon return, to go with a healthy Hagan, as well as key play­ers like Selby, Pet­ti­ford and Brandin Youngblood.

Wes­ley is sched­uled to open the 2013–14 sea­son in Bal­ti­more against Mount St. Mary’s Col­lege at the Johns Hop­kins Uni­ver­sity tour­na­ment on Nov. 15

 

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