After losing a majority of its scoring punch, including the team’s top four scorers, the Augustana men’s basketball squad will lean on its youth during the upcoming season.
Without a senior on its roster, and twelve players in their sophomore or freshman seasons, Augustana will lean on junior Adam Dykman and sophomore Matt Cartwright to lead a young Vikings team.
“Teach them how we want to get stuff done, just how they taught me. So I can use what they taught me, how they taught me, and then make it my own and teach young kids as they keep on coming into the program,” Sophomore Guard Matt Cartwright said.
Augie returns six players from last year, and welcomes ten newcomers to the program. While expecting some growing pains, the Vikings say there’s plenty of potential for this year’s squad.
“They’re really talented, but when they learn the system they’ll be even more talented and when we get all of us together knowing our roles, we’re just going to be a scary team I think,” Junior Adam Dykman said.
The Vikings primarily used a seven-man rotation last season, which Head Coach Tom Billeter feels contributed to their 16-14 record. He hopes the new additions will give him some much needed depth.
“I thought our depth had something to do with that, I really did. So I do like the idea that were back to having 9, 10, 11 kids,” Head Coach Tom Billeter said.
Though no player remains on the roster from the Vikings 2016 National Championship team, Billeter says he sees some similarities between that team and his current one.
“We’re longer. We’re still trying to get bigger. That’s what the weight room is for and younger kids get bigger as time goes on. But, we’re definitely back to that formula that helped us win games a couple years ago,” Billeter said.
The Vikings open exhibition play on Thursday, and tip-off the regular season November 9th against Southern Arkansas in Lancaster, Texas.