NewsMVNU Men's Basketball Team Reloads for 2002-2003 Season
written by Dave Parsons, Sports Information Director
MOUNT VERNON, Ohio - Fresh off the program's first national championship and a 24-11 record, the Mount Vernon Nazarene University men's basketball team is ready to take the floor for the 2002-2003 hoops campaign.
The Cougars, who won 12 of their final 14 games a year ago in capturing the National Christian College Athletic Association national title, must find a way to replace Kenny Chaffin, Andy Gast, Lenny Foyer, and Chad Vorhis, who combined to score 4,008 points, grab 1,467 rebounds, and nail 381 three-pointers as the team went 95-40 during their careers.
"With the loss of four outstanding players to graduation, this is somewhat of a transition year for us," said MVNU head coach Scott Flemming, who has posted a 235-156 record as he enters his thirteenth season at the helm of the Cougars. "As I have seen in the past, we will need to have players, who have been waiting for their turn, to step up and make an impact now that their opportunity is here. We will need to play in such a way that our lack of size can be a match-up problem for our opponents rather than a disadvantage for us. The key will be our ability to rebound the basketball."
MVNU returns nine players from last year's championship team to go along with four talented newcomers. Leading the way for the Cougars in 2002-2003 will be senior Phil Argento. The 6-foot-2 guard is coming off his best season yet as he averaged 18.4 points and nailed 126 three-pointers as he was named to the American Mideast Conference First Team, the NCCAA All-American Second Team, and the NAIA Division II Honorable Mention All-American Team.
Joining Argento in the starting lineup will be 6-foot-3 guard/forward Brad Moser. Moser, who averaged 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds to go along with a team-high 47 steals, was one of the key players in the national championship run as he was named to the NCCAA All-National Tournament Team.
Two returning players and one freshman will compete for time at the point guard position for the Cougars. Junior Andy Dunn (6-foot-1) nailed 54 three-pointers and dished out 69 assists as he played in all 35 games a year ago, while junior Chip Wilson (5-foot-10) also played in 19 games. Meanwhile, freshman Alan Bock (5-foot-6) joins the team after earning All-Ohio Special Mention as a senior at Tallmadge High School.
Sophomore Benji Hall (6-foot-3) and freshmen Andrew Thompson (6-foot) and Nick Zarley (6-foot-3) give MVNU added depth on the perimeter. Hall played in 26 games for the Cougars as a freshman, while Thompson and Zarley were both two-time All-Ohio Honorable Mention picks at Mount Vernon High School and Northridge High School respectively.
Konrod Morris, a 6-foot-3 senior, will see considerable time at the power forward position after averaging 5.5 points and 3.9 rebounds a year ago. Junior Dan Weston (6-foot-4) and sophomore Jeremy Underwood (6-foot-5) will add depth underneath where Weston saw action in 21 games last year and Underwood was the leading scorer and rebounder on the junior varsity team.
Sophomore Anthony Delimpo (6-foot-7) and junior Matt Hilbert (6-foot-7) will both compete for time at the center position. Delimpo played in 34 games as a freshman and averaged 6.0 points and 4.6 rebounds, while Hilbert averaged 2.4 points and 2.8 rebounds in 32 games.
The Cougars will be tested every time out in the highly competitive American Mideast Conference South Division as the team will play Cedarville University, Malone College, Ohio Dominican University, the University of Rio Grande, Shawnee State University, Tiffin University, Urbana University, Walsh University, and Wilberforce University both home and away. MVNU will also face Ohio State University-Newark, Notre Dame College, Kenyon College, Point Park (Pa.) College, and Geneva (Pa.) College in non-conference games.
In addition, the Cougars will compete in four different tournaments during the regular season. MVNU will host Grace (Ind.) College, Concordia (Mich.) University, and Kentucky Christian College in the Cougar Homecoming Classic on November 15-16, and the Cougars will entertain Notre Dame College, Taylor (Ind.) University, and the University of Michigan-Dearborn on December 6-7 for the Food for the Hungry Holiday Invitational. MVNU will also take part in the Defiance College Tournament on November 22-23 and the Webber International (Fla.) University Tournament on December 17-18.
"We will continue our up-tempo style of play," said Flemming. "In our pressure offense, we hope to create easy shots in our fast break. Against our toughest opponents, we will need to be patient and disciplined in our half-court game. I believe we have the players to be effective on the perimeter. The test will be our interior defense. This is a fine group of young men and they make coaching enjoyable."
The Cougars will open up the 2002-2003 season with a non-conference game at Ohio State University-Newark on Tuesday, November 12, at 7:30 p.m.