takes a look at the teams in Horizon League and reviews what will
happen in 2002-2003 season. As an added bonus CigarBoy even tells you
how they will finish and which players to keep an eye on.
The 2002-2003 season has
the Horizon League looking stronger from top to bottom than at any
other time in recent memory. Considering the returning players from
UWM, Detroit, UIC and the new players added by UWGB and Wright State,
the Horizon League fans should be in for a lot fun and possibly an
unpredictable season.. When this year is said and done, the Horizon
League’s RPI will be in the 10, 11 or 12 range. As in the past it will
be a guard-oriented league. In the Horizon League the question is not
does a team have a center? But does the team have someone who can
score in the paint?
1. University of
Led by Clay Tucker and
Ronnie Jones, the Panthers play a running, pressing style. They play
deep into the bench should go ten or eleven deep. Last year they
invested a lot of playing time in young players and now those players
have some experience. One of the keys will be the return of 6’ 6’’
James Wright., who red-shirted last year.
2. University of
Detroit-Mercy Perry Watson-coach
This is a program that has
so much success that they are to the point where it is about the
program and not the players. In other words, they are just reloading.
Key senior is guard Willie Green who was injured last year. Also a
successful Titan team will get a big year from Terrell Riggs a 6’6”
forward who is a good rebounder and scorer around the basket. Look for
the Titans’ trademark of tough man-to-man defense that produces tough
stops in crucial situations to set the pace for this team.
3. Wright State
Ed Schilling’s Raiders will
be a senior dominated team for the first time in his coaching career.
Lead by 6’3” Venard Hollins and 6’8” Seth Doliboa who should be much
stronger with fifthteen pounds of additional muscle he gained during
the off season. Should be a more pressing style of play and look for a
very disciplined team-oriented offense. Will play deeper into the
bench than in past years.
4. University of
Illinois-Chicago Jimmy Collins-coach
The Flames are probably the
most talented team in the league. They have a freewheeling offense
that relies on dual penetration, three point shooting and pressure
defense. Players to watch include Cedrick Banks and Martell Bailey. A
key component will be the 6’ 9” Joe Scott who was red shirted last
year. This is potentially a very dangerous team.
Look for the Bulldogs to be
a much different team from the nationally ranked team of last year.
They lost Rylan Hainge and Thomas Jackson. They do return 6’ 10” Joel
Cornette and guard Brandon Miller. Look for them to again to be a
defensive-minded, unrelenting, never give up team. They still know how
The Ramblers are a very
interesting team. They got hot at just the right time last year. But
after a hot start they kind of meandered through the second half of
the season before turning it on in the conference tournament. The key
to this team is senior guard David Bailey and how well the other
players feed off of him. This will determine how good this team will
be. In supporting roles are 6’ 8” Corey Minnifield and 6’ 4” Louis
Smith. Look for a UCLA type of high-post offense and a switching
man-to-man defense that will sometimes press. .
7. Cleveland State
The Vikings have to fill
two huge holes left by the departure of Theo Dixon and Jamal Harris.
They do return junior point guard Jermaine Robinson. But they lack a
proven scorer. Who will do the scoring is anybody’s guess? They will
continue to play a multi-defensive scheme that is constantly changing
and setting up the fast breaks.
8. University of
Wisconsin-Green Bay Todd Kowalczwk-coach
The new-look Phoenix have a
new coach and a new arena. They are returning 6’ 10” Greg Babcock who
is one of the most improved players in the Horizon league. They also
return sophomore Kalix N’diaye. Two new faces are Marshall Williams
6’, Julian Schultz 6’ 6” and Mike King 6’ 8” is returning after
missing last year with an injury.. How well the players adjust to a
new system, a new coach and a new arena will help determine the kind
of year they will have.
9. Youngstown State
The Penquins return 6’ 7”
Brian Radakovich and get JUCO player Adam Baumann who is 6’ 8”. The
point guard position is wide open. How well that position is filled
will go a long way toward determining how good this team will be. They
run a pattern offense with lots of plays and they usually shoot their
fair share of 3-pointers.
CigarBoy’s First Team
-Clay Tucker UWM
-David Bailey Loyola
-Seth Doliboa WSU
-Terrill Riggs Detroit
-Ronnie Jones UWM
CigarBoy’s Second Team
-Venard Hollins WSU
-Brandon Miller Butler
-Joel Cornette Butler
-Willie green Detroit
-Cedrick Banks UIC
-Greg Babcock UWGB
-Martell Bailey UIC
-Joe Scott UIC
CigarBoy’s Player of the
-Clay Tucker UWM
CigarBoy’s Writer of the
Top 25 Poll