Last year, Craig Young and a talented class of seniors led Wayne to 16 victories, the most for the program since the 1999-2000 campaign.
This year, Young and, well, a lot of question marks will see what they can do for an encore.
Young, an Ohio State commit for football, is expected to play this season, giving Wayne an elite athlete to build around. He led the Generals in both scoring (17.4 ppg) and rebounding (7.5) a year ago. The senior is one of the better mid-range shooters around and can be a beast around the rim when he is motivated.
The Generals will need plenty of motivated Young with the next five leading scorers from last year gone. Dillon Redding (12.8 ppg), Kylon Jarreau (10.9 ppg), Darian Causey (6.5 ppg), Shaquan Sanders (6.1 ppg) and Anthony Phillips (4.6 ppg) are all gone, leading a tremendous void of proven talent.
Guard Demarea Dial would have been looked upon to play a big role as a senior, but is not on the team this season.
Senior Cameron Starks will be needed to fill an increased role if the Generals are to equal last year’s win total. He will be assisted by junior Michael Redding. While not as streaky of an outside shooter as his older brother, he will be an outside threat and a vocal leader.
The loss of Phillips is big as the underrated floor leader at the point guard spot of a team that averaged over 65 points a year last season. The Generals will turn to Starks to run the offense and will be helped out at times by junior Quincy Miles.
Andre Beasley, a junior transfer from Bishop Luers, will be a solid addition to the lineup.
Big Darius Alexander is back with the team after completing his football career, and he brought some reinforcements. Senior Xavier Ellington has come out for hoops for the first time, giving Wayne a trio of big bodies up front in Ellington, Alexander and Ellington.
Even with the graduation of a solid senior class, having Craig Young back immediately puts Wayne in the mix among the most talented teams in the SAC. He is almost unguardable in man situations and he is deceptively smooth with his mid-range shot.
If the players in expanded roles can shine, the Generals will be one of the better teams in the conference.
WHY NOT HIGHER?
Too many questions. Coach Aaron Rehrer will have his hands full with a largely-inexperienced group and a hugely-challenging schedule that opens against the top-ranked team in 3A in Culver Academy on Dec. 1.
December 14 vs. Carroll
A year ago, the Generals went to Carroll and knocked off the Chargers 52-50. With the Chargers looking like one of the leading contenders in the SAC and some wanting to write off Wayne, a victory here would not only mean momentum but also show that the Generals aren’t going anywhere.