Potential for excitement; this is head coach Keith Salscheider’s mindset for the Maranatha men’s basketball team of 2013-2014. “We’re off to a really good start here in the preseason,” states second year head coach Keith Salscheider. “This year’s team is very young, but we are really excited about some of the guys that have come in.” The Crusaders will dress eight freshmen this season, with these first year players composing nearly half of the entire roster. “Between our key returners and a solid recruiting class, we have a lot of athletic ability, an increased basketball IQ, and a greater intensity in our game pace that could be a recipe for an exciting year,” remarks Coach Salscheider.
Notable key returners for the Crusaders include captains Kyle Kutz (Cambridge, WI), Brett Cashner (Urbana, IL), and Tanner Moses (Lodi, WI). Also looking to provide quality minutes for the team will be second year impact player Scott Sutter (Cincinnati, OH).
Kutz, a regular starter in his three previous seasons, has been a consistent leader for the Crusaders. “Kyle will be a great example to the younger guys. He will fulfill a lot of different roles as a valuable utility player,” says Salscheider.
Third year center Brett Cashner has shown constant improvement since his very first game as a Crusader, and looks to offer a few more threats this year on the offensive end. “Brett is one of our major threats in the post,” remarks Salscheider. “He worked hard over the summer to improve his offensive moves, IQ, and passing ability.”
The final captain for the Crusaders this season is junior point guard Tanner Moses. “Tanner made a huge commitment to work out and improve his skills this past spring and summer. I have witnessed a noticeable difference in his game, IQ, and decision-making skills. His progress as a player is really exciting heading into this year,” says Salscheider.
Another key returner is senior Scott Sutter, a player who can provide an immediate impact for this year’s young team. “I really believe that Scott is one of the reasons we won our first NAC game last year, after being winless in the NAC over the previous two seasons.” says Coach Salscheider. “He offers a great shooting touch, combined with a physical style of play that will be a huge asset for our squad.”
The 2013-2014 men’s basketball roster is loaded with new, young talent—most of whom have already had quality experience competing at various levels. “Each of our freshman come in with some really good knowledge and experience in the game already…but college competition is on a whole other level,” remarks Salscheider.” With a lot of new players, we’ll really have to adjust and gel as a team with our current system and style of play. There will definitely be challenges, but I and the other coaches are very optimistic about this season and our ability to learn and grow.”
Leading the freshman class is guard Brady Moses (Lodi, WI), brother of junior captain Tanner Moses. “Brady has participated in the WIAA state tournament and the WBCA All-Star Game,” states Salscheider, “and he really offers the complete package that you’re hoping for as a perimeter player. He has speed, a great shot, can penetrate the lanes, great IQ, and rounds it out with lockdown perimeter defense. Brady can come in for us and have an immediate impact.”
The Maranatha roster boasts two more sets of brothers this year, freshman twins Jon & David Wenthold (Atkinson, IL), and freshman twins Caleb & Adam Courtney (Guthrie Center, IA).
“Jon and David are both extremely athletic, smart basketball players who have great defensive instincts. The Courtney twins from Iowa have had quality experiences in the Iowa State High School Tournament, and will provide valuable minutes this year.”
Rounding out the freshman class are guards Clayton Morrison (Jefferson, WI) and Jed Hedlund (Santa Maria, CA), as well as big man Zach Terpstra (Barron, WI). Morrison earned multiple honors in high school track and field, and will provide the Crusaders with another complete package at point guard. Both Hedlund and Terpstra have a good understanding for the game, and the coaching staff is excited about their potential.
The schedule for the 2013-2014 men’s basketball team will again provide its unique challenges. “We play a lot of tough teams on the road, and, with a young team, we are definitely going to face some difficult games in hostile environments. I want our guys to learn to love the competition and the challenge.” states Salscheider. “We play a variety of top notch programs from the WIAC, UMAC, and NACC conferences. We want to be as competitive as possible during the season so that we can be playing our best basketball come post-season.”
The Crusaders primary and ultimate goal of each season is to honor the Lord with their play and testimony. “I want all of our guys to put Christ first in their lives,” remarks Coach Salscheider, “to graduate from college with a degree that will provide them with meaningful employment and enable them to be well-rounded Christians and citizens. Our top athletic goal is to be NCCAA National Tournament Champions. As a team we want to be as competitive as possible, while also stretching each individual to their maximum potential as a basketball player.”
After a month-long preseason, the Crusaders regular season will begin on Friday evening, November 15th, at 7:00 p.m. in St. Paul, MN, with a big match-up against NCAA Division III National top-quality opponent Northwestern at the Northwestern Tournament.