Nov. 1, 2013
GALESBURG—The Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball team enjoyed a 19-win campaign and reached as high as No. 14 in the NJCAA Division II rankings during the 2012-13 season, but the way it ended has stuck with Chargers for the past eight months.
Sandburg dropped its final three games, capped by an overtime loss at home to rival Black Hawk in the quarterfinals of the Region IV tournament.
“The kids left with a feeling of emptiness, and that’s something the sophomores came back with,” seventh-year Chargers coach Ryan Twaddle said. “We had a good year, did a lot of really good things, beat some really good teams, but we need to finish it stronger at the end of the year and into the tournament.”
Sandburg’s quest to do that begins at 7 tonight when it plays its season opener at Moberly (Mo.) Area. The Chargers also have road games Saturday at North Central Missouri and Tuesday at Southeastern (Iowa) before opening their home schedule at 3 p.m. Nov. 9 against Elgin at John M. Lewis Gymnasium.
“I think this year’s team has the capability to be a good team,” Twaddle said. “They play well together, they play hard and we have a lot of sophomores that have helped the freshmen make the transition from high school to college off the court.”
The Chargers return seven sophomores, including three starters — 6-foot guard Juwan Hubbard (Rockford, Ill./Guilford), 6-5 forward Aaron Powers (Springfield, Ill./Lanphier) and 6-6 forward Mitch Wendling (Athens, Ill./Athens).
“They all bring different things to the court,” Twaddle said. “Mitch is a very good defender and rebounder, and he’s worked hard to be a better defender. Aaron is an energy guy. He’s going to be great on the offensive glass and create second-chance points. Juwan’s going to have the ball in his hands a lot. There are going to be times where we need him to distribute and create shots for other people, and there are going to be times where we need him to take over and score.”
Among the five freshmen on Sandburg’s roster is point guard Jared Entwistle (Mason City, Ill./Illini Central), who helped lead Illini Central to the Class 1A state title while earning first-team Associated Press all-state honors and being named the Peoria Journal Star’s Small-School Player of the Year.
“He’s a pure point guard,” Twaddle said. “He sees the floor well and gets everybody involved, and he’s a very, very unselfish player.”
Other newcomers include combo guard Reggie Anderson (Decatur, Ill./MacArthur), who has received Division I interest, and 6-2 guard Vince Gooden (Markham, Ill./Tinley Park).
“Vince is a tremendous shooter, one of the best I’ve had here,” Twaddle said. “Once he kind of settles down and gets used to everything, I think he’s going to make a big impact for us.”
Twaddle said he thinks the Chargers have what it takes to surpass their success from a season ago.
“We’ve shown some really good glimpses of how good we can be when we get down and guard,” Twaddle said. “My expectations for this team are to play for a region championship, without a doubt. We can win all the games we want, but if we don’t play for a region championship, then we failed. It’s pretty simple.”
Members of the 2013-2014 Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball team are: Reggie Anderson, Jeremy Brown, Jared Entwistle, Vince Gooden, Juwan Hubbard, Teyvious Montgomery, Tyrice Morgan, Aaron Powers, Mitch Roth, Matt Sagona, Jacob Warner, Mitch Wendling, Zach Ziemba. Head coach: Ryan Twaddle. Assistant coach: Jeff Thurman. Student assistant: Patrick Lewis.
2013-2014 Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball team — Front row (L to R): Juwan Hubbard, Jared Entwistle, Mitch Roth, Vince Gooden, Zach Ziemba, Jordan Bradshaw, Reggie Anderson, Jacob Warner. Back row (L to R): Matt Sagona, Teyvious Montgomery, Tyrice Morgan, Mitch Wendling, Aaron Powers, Jeremy Brown, student assistant Patrick Lewis, assistant coach Jeff Thurman, head coach Ryan Twaddle.