2004-05 Men's Basketball
Men's basketball team ready for HCAC matchups in 2004-05
By Kate Barringer, Sports Information Assistant
November 5, 2004
As time gets closer to the tip-off to the 2004-05 Bluffton men's basketball season, the players and coaches are working hard during practice and their improvements will result in an excellent year. With four starters and six key players returning to action this season, coach Guy Neal looks to leave a mark in a tough Heartland Conference.
"Team chemistry and togetherness are key strengths this year," said Coach Neal. "The two seniors and the junior class get along well, which is a plus." Last season the team struggled offensively, but their strength in defense enabled them to remain competitive in tight games. Mastering team defense for a young squad was challenging but the Beavers now have a solid foundation to build on for this year.
"The Heartland Conference is one of the toughest and well balanced leagues, there is not much difference between the top and bottom," said Coach Neal. "Last year there was ten games that were lost by six points or less."
In 2001 Bluffton came close to a league championship by finishing second. But, after the loss of five seniors, the Beavers have been rebuilding ever since. Last year's senior Brad Boyles filled the loss of those players. Coach Neal looks for other men to step up and fill Boyles 15.2 points per a game this season. A goal this year for Bluffton is to make strides and be where the 2001 team was, contending for a Heartland Conference Championship.
Bluffton University has two senior point guards that return to action. Bryce Beilharz played in 26 games for the Beavers last year. He looks to continue to have a strong court presence. Senior Nathan Chivington will be looked upon for leadership both on and of the court.
There are ten juniors for Bluffton this season. Scott Bergman will bring back his scoring threat as he averaged 13 points and 4.7 rebounds per a game last season, and was the second leading scorer. Junior, Eric Sweet, will continue to have an inside presence, as he had 21 blocks, averaged 9.3 points and 4.8 rebounds per a game. Simeon Talley played in all 26 games last season. He is another strong point guard as he posted 69 assists.
Also returning as juniors this season are Darren Clark, Joe Duzan, Brett Mitchell, Zach Nussbaum and Michael Kingsley who returns after a two-year absence. Also, added to the juniors are transfers from EdisonCommunity College, Jimmy Dembski (Sidney,Ohio), and Doug Ernst (Piqua,Ohio).
Bluffton's sophomore class returns some key players. Leading the way will be Mike Anthony who played in all 26 games last season (8.9 ppg, 43 assist), David Patch (3.4ppg, 1.9rpg), and Eric Schwieterman who played in 19 games. Also returning, as sophomores this season are Tom Heil, Tony Mass, Ricky Reucher, Sam Seggerson and Kevin Davis.
The freshman class includes PJ Juenger (Loveland/Archbishop Moeller) and Anthony Miracola (Toledo/Whiteford) who will make contributions to the squad this year.
Before the first ball is released for a shot this season, the Beavers are working hard on improving their offense and keeping their defense strong. The Beavers have solid leadership and a core of returning players that will step into the roles that need to be filled. Bluffton will be a force that will be tough to beat this season as they continue one practice at a time.