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2003-04 YSU Penguins Preview

Horizon League Directory

 

Youngstown State Basketball

by Vince Pellegrini Jr.

October 16th, 2003

Penguins will be much improved
by Vince Pellegrini, Jr.

        Horizon League beware! The Youngstown State Penguins will be a much improved ball club in 2003. I spoke to assistant coach Dolph Carroll and he is very optimistic about this season. Although the Penguins will be young, they should be very entertaining to watch. The freshman class has potential to be the very best recruiting group that Y.S.U. has ever had. With the addition of two prep stars from the peach state the backcourt will be the best group of athletes Northeast Ohio has seen in a long time on the basketball court. Head coach John Robic has more depth than he has had in recent memory.

        The Penguins only lost starting point guard, Marlon Williamson, from a team which went 9-20 a year ago. Youngstown State snapped a thirty-one game road losing streak at the Resch Center in Green Bay, 65-61, on March 4.

        The Pens backcourt looks to be the strong point on a team which is going to surprise a lot of people. Jonathan Mends, a 5'11 Miami native, is entering his sophomore year and he may be looked at to be the floor general in November. If it is not him it will be the exciting freshman point from Mike Woodard. He is from Creekside High School in Georgia. He was a second teamer in the peach state a year ago. The man running the two is only going to get better. Junior Doug Underwood is just going to get better and better. That is very scary. Underwood, last year, was the team's leading scorer. His backups look to be sophomore Andy Jahnke and freshman Quinn Humphrey. Current Wagner assistant coach and former Penguin coach Ross Burns and freshman Woodard are the ones who have been given credit for luring Humphrey to Youngstown. Quinn was being recruited by Tennessee and Auburn. Also don't forget about 6'2 sophomore Derrick Harris. Last year was a tough season for number twenty-two. He was hampered by injuries but the Cambridge, Massachusetts native should be able to produce more this year.

        The small forwards look to be led by 6'6 senior TeJay Anderson. He is due to have a banner year. As a freshman he looked like a future star here at Y.S.U. He has shown signs of his ability but hasn't put together a string of games where he has dominated. Backing up TeJay will be freshman Craig Anderson from Mount Prospect, Illinois.

        A couple of upper classmen will be on the floor in the low post. 6'8 senior Adam Baumann was a great pickup as a junior college transfer a year ago. He led the team in rebounds and blocked shots. He was also second in scoring. Baumann became one of the team's leaders in a short time. Two other seniors will be looked at for some time to help out down low. Bill Mallernee (6'6) and Jamel Porter (6'7) both shared time last year and look for more of the same this season. Juniors Brian Radakovich and Khari McQueen should play a lot at the four spot or as a backup behind Baumann. The 6'7 Radakovich played a lot as a freshman in the middle. McQueen is becoming a household name on the campus of Y.S.U. He is a large man. In last year's media guide he was listed at 6'5 and weighing 287. That was an understatement. He is a wide body but he gives it all he has. He displays a lot of heart. Freshman 6'6 John Barber will also be counted on. Barber is from Detroit and he is an athlete to say the least.

        The schedule is much more challenging than last year's. Y.S.U. opens on the campus of Niagra University on Saturday, November 22. Three days later the Pens will find themselves playing in Toledo against the Rockets on the 25th. Last year, the Penguins defeated Toledo, 69-61, at the Beeghly Center. The Penguins open their home schedule on November 29 against St. Francis of Pennsylvania. Y.S.U. will try to redeem themselves from a year ago when they were beaten bad in Loretto. The non-conference schedule has trips to Boston University (12/1), Buffalo (12/6), and Pittsburgh (12/13). As well as home games against Oakland (12/20), UMKC (12/22), and IUPU-Fort Wayne (1/31). The Horizon Schedule looks to be very challenging. Three games early on in 2004 have the Pens making trips to Chicago for games against Loyola (1/3) and Illinois of Chicago (1/5) and also to Green Bay for a contest versus the Phoenix (1/8). Butler makes their annual call to the Mahoning Valley on January 21. Illinois of Chicago comes to town on February 11 and Dylan Page and his Panthers of UWM come calling on February 14. ESPN's Bracket Buster will be held on Saturday, February 21. Y.S.U. will be involved and will be on the road this year against a team to be announced at a later date. In 2004-05 the Penguins will be hosting the bracket buster. Y.S.U. finishes their season at home with a battle against Detroit on Saturday, February 28 at 7:35 PM.

        It should be an exciting season for the Penguins and their fans. This is the first school year that Youngstown State University has had their new state of the art Courtyard Apartments open. This should increase the attendance with more students being on campus. Y.S.U. is mostly a commuter school and has had trouble in the past getting kids to the game. Hopefully this will help the cause as Youngstown State is slowly becoming a player in the Horizon League.

 E-Mail the Author: Vince Pellegrini Jr.

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