BEREA — Following the 2008 season, the Baldwin-Wallace men’s basketball program needed a head coach after longtime Lorain County resident Steve Bankson retired.
Duane Sheldon was brought on to lead the Yellow Jackets, and in two years he has continued to build on the recruiting base in and around the area. There are five area players on the Baldwin-Wallace roster — junior guards Scott Voiers (Westlake/Lutheran West) and Promis Cabbil (Elyria), sophomore guard Brandon Schmidt (Wellington), sophomore forward Jason Ice (North Ridgeville) and freshman guard Kyle Baughman (Lorain/Clearview).
“The guys are getting used to our system, feeling a little more comfortable with what we’re doing,” Sheldon said. “We understood three years ago that it would be a process and I still think we’re in that process. It’s part of the process, improving and getting to where we want to be.”
The players can sense the importance of embracing their responsibilities on the team.
“We’re ahead of where we were last year as far as preparation for our first game,” Voiers said. “I feel like we’re ready to go, whereas last year we still had guys — myself included — that were lagging behind. This year everybody’s on board and I think we’re going to come out strong.”
“Last year we had so many new guys that at the beginning of the season we struggled because they weren’t used to playing, but toward the end of the year they got used to playing,” Schmidt said. “This year we’ve all been here a while, so I think we’ll have the depth to compete all the time, all game.”
Last week, the Division III Yellow Jackets scrimmaged Division I Cleveland State . Though they lost, there were lessons to be learned.
“I feel like we’re more of a unit because a lot of us have been together for two years now,” Cabbil said. “I’ve been here for three years and we’ve got some returners in the starting lineup and coming off the bench that came into the starting lineup. We’re more athletic this year, too.”
“(The scrimmage) builds a lot of confidence, especially on defense. We went over the scouting report and learned some of the tendencies of the players. Their best 3-point shooter only got off one three. It was a big help in our confidence. I believe we’ll be stronger at the end of games.” Cabbil is the top returning scorer from last season. He averaged 11.4 points per game and dished out 123 assists against 76 turnovers. He nearly doubled runner-up Zane Meeder’s 66 assists.
Voiers averaged 5.6 points, but he and Schmidt combined to be a dangerous 3-point combination. Voiers connected on 40.8 percent of his 3-pointers and Schmidt knocked down 43.4.
“Promis has done a very good job,” Sheldon said. “He didn’t say much his first year, and last year he started to be a little bit more vocal. Now he totally understands what we’re trying to do at all times and is becoming more of a vocal leader. He’s always kind of led with his actions and now he’s doing a little bit of both.”
Contact Matt Florjancic at 329-7135 or firstname.lastname@example.org.