Seniors Look To Answer Most Of Last Year's Questions
The Ohio Bobcats are looking to bounce back after a tough, underachieving year last year. A lot of the team’s problems from last year, however, seemed to be answered as they started practice on Saturday. Last year the biggest problem was chemistry. A key figure to the chemistry imbalance was point guard Jeremy Fears. Fortunately for the Bobcats, Fears is gone and not too many people are worried he left the program. This year’s Bobcat team probably won’t make any “It” teams but make no mistake, they have what it takes to make the Big Dance. With six seniors and a preseason All-MAC junior, this team has the experience and talent to go a long way.
The six seniors are led with guard Sonny Troutman. Troutman is the most experienced of the seniors with 78 starts in 86 games. Troutman has averaged 10.3 points per game throughout his collegiate career. He will look to probably start the season as either the small forward or shooting guard. Whitney Davis is another senior who will be looked upon to lead the team this year. Last year Davis had a breakout year by leading the Bobcat bench in scoring 8.2 points per game. Davis will probably be looked upon to start at the shooting guard spot and could probably be looked upon to spell Antonio Chatman in the point guard slot. Another senior guard is Stephen King. King has not played very much the past couple of years due to more experienced and talented players being in front of him, but look for him this year to really show his stuff on the court. He can open up defenses with his three-point shooting ability and will also be asked to play some point this year. Another senior who has not seen much playing time is Matt Annen. Annen may very well start this season along side Leon Williams, but if not it’s sure that he’ll see a lot more playing time than before. Yet another senior is Johnnie Jackson. He scored 4 points a game last year and will be called upon off the bench again this year for his defensive ability. The last senior on the team is Ken Ottrix. He was arrested in the fall and has been suspended indefinatly. It is unclear as of yet, when or if he will return to the team.
Much of the Bobcats success will be placed in the hands of its junior class. Leon Williams will be asked to carry the scoring load for the team this year. He has already been named to the preseason All-MAC team and will be one of the better players in the MAC this year. He will be the focus of just about every team the Bobcats play this year. The starting point guard will be fellow junior Antonio Chatman. In his first year as a Bobcat last year, Chatman finished as one of the best point guards in the MAC last year. How Chatman runs the offense will be the key to Ohio winning the MAC. Bubba Walther will also be asked to back up Chatman this year. Walther is a transfer from Akron and can really shoot it from downtown. The lone sophomore on the team is Jerome Tillman and he will be playing a lot at the small forward position this year. The two true freshmen on the team are Asown Sayles and Kenneth Van Kempen. Asown spent last year in prep school at Hargrave Military Academy. Hargrave also produced six other Division I basketball players last year. Asown may not see much playing time this year, but is an extremely good athlete who will help the team in practice and after this year when six seniors will graduate. Van Kempen hails from the Netherlands and is going to be a good guy for Coach Tim O’Shea to use down low to grind for the rebounds. He won’t really be looked upon to carry any of the scoring load. The Bobcats will need him to grab rebounds, play good defense, and give Williams a few breathers a game. If he can do that, then the Bobcats will be in good shape.
Overall, this is looking like a good year for the Ohio men’s basketball team. A MAC championship is not out of the question, however they are going to have to prove themselves against Akron who is the league favorite. The non-conference schedule is no cupcake with the team traveling to tournaments in Louisville and Arizona State in the month of December. If they can come out of non-conference play with only a few loses and at least one victory over either Louisville or Arizona State then they may be able to make a case for an at-large bid. Look for the seniors to really step up and be the answer to all of last year’s questions.