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Young Chargers Set to Start 2012-13 Season

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Nov. 1, 2012
GALESBURG—Plenty of new faces on his roster means Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball coach Ryan Twaddle will be preaching patience during the initial weeks of the season for the Chargers.

“We’re pretty young,” said Twaddle, entering his sixth season as Sandburg’s coach. “We’ve got 12 freshmen and three sophomores, so we understand it will be more of a process with this team early on rather than having a bunch of returners who can pick up everything from last year right away.”

The Chargers, coming off a 7-24 mark last season, open the 2012-2013 season at 7 p.m. Friday against Indian Hills, the fifth-ranked team in NJCAA Division I, in the Indian Hills Classic in Ottumwa, Iowa. Sandburg will face William Penn JV at 4:30 p.m. Saturday to wrap up the tournament. The Chargers’ first home game is 3 p.m. Nov. 10 against Wright, which is also the Alumni and Friends Athletic Reunion.

Twaddle will lean heavily on sophomores Zach Grover, Marvin Nunn and Seth Wickert while the team’s dozen freshmen get their feet wet. Wickert, a 6-foot-3 guard from Macomb, is the team’s top returning scorer and rebounder after averaging 8.4 points and 3.6 rebounds per game last season. Nunn, a 6-7 forward from Peoria Central, averaged 5.5 points and 2.7 rebounds a year ago, and Grover, a 6-foot guard from Macomb, hit 25 3-pointers last season while averaging 5.1 points.

“We expect a lot of leadership and, really, a lot of scoring out of those three,” Twaddle said. “Marvin is probably our best creator and scorer on his own as far as one-on-one moves go. Seth can fill up the whole stat sheet. He can fill up rebounds, assists, steals, points. Zach is our shooter. He’s a guy we expect to shoot down 3s and spread out the defense.”

Dylan Ervin, a 6-2 guard from Washington, Ind., figures to be one of the team’s top newcomers. Ervin won back-to-back state titles in high school while playing alongside current Indiana All-American Cody Zeller, but he’s still recovering from a torn ACL and meniscus he suffered in February of his senior season. Ervin was averaging 16.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 2.3 steals per game at the time of his injury.

“We’re still waiting for him to get healthy. Hopefully he’ll be ready to go here in another week or two,” Twaddle said. “We went down and watched him play last year, and we really liked what we saw. A very strong kid, big body and can really shoot and score the basketball.”

Other newcomers in the backcourt include Jerrell White, who led Class 3A state champion Peoria Central in assists last season, and Juwan Hubbard of Rockford Guilford. Freshmen Jeremy Brown (6-5, Chillicothe Illinois Valley Central), Aaron Powers (6-5, Springfield Lanphier), Matt Sagona (6-5, Knoxville) and Mitch Wendling (6-6, Athens) add some size to the Chargers’ frontcourt.

Twaddle said a key to the team’s success will be how it adjusts to a roster filled with players vying for extended minutes.

“The strength of this team is its depth. We truly have 10, 11 starters and really have 11 kids I wouldn’t mind starting in any combination,” Twaddle said. “As a young kid coming from a high school program where you might play the entire game to coming to a college program where you’re not playing half the game, you’ve got to have the kids accept those roles.”

If that happens, Twaddle said he thinks the Chargers will be in good shape when the games matter most.

“We want game-by-game improvement. We know we’re still a ways away from where we want to be, but we just want improvement every day,” Twaddle said. “We don’t want to play our best basketball in November when there’s nothing on the line. We want them to grow and play their best basketball in February and March when the tournaments come up.”

Members of the 2012-2013 Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball team are: Jeremy Brown, Dylan Ervin, Zach Grover, Eric Happ, Javauntae Hicks, Juwan Hubbard, Anthony Misuraca, Marvin Nunn, Aaron Powers, Matt Sagona, Jacob Warner, Mitch Wendling, Jerrell White, Seth Wickert, Zach Ziemba. Head coach: Ryan Twaddle. Assistant coach: Jeff Thurman.

2012-2013 Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball schedule:


The 2012-2013 Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball team


Caption: The 2012-2013 Carl Sandburg College men’s basketball team. Front row, L to R: Javauntae Hicks, Zach Ziemba, Zach Grover, head coach Ryan Twaddle, assistant coach Jeff Thurman, Juwan Hubbard, Jerrell White, Anthony Misuraca. Back row, L to R: Jacob Warner, Seth Wickert, Matt Sagona, Marvin Nunn, Mitch Wendling, Jeremy Brown, Eric Happ, Dylan Ervin, Aaron Powers.