THE ITHACAN

Accuracy • Independence • Integrity
The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

The Student News Site of Ithaca College

THE ITHACAN

Support Us
$1495
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Support Us
$1495
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

Young blood forms the backbone of rejuvenated men’s basketball

From+left+to+right%2C+first-year+forward+Alex+Penders%2C+sophomore+guard+Cole+Wissink%2C+first-year+guard+Evan+Cabral+and+sophomore+forward+Gavin+Schauder.+All+four+underclassmen+have+recorded+substantial+minutes+for+the+team+in+the+winter+season.
Kaeleigh Banda
From left to right, first-year forward Alex Penders, sophomore guard Cole Wissink, first-year guard Evan Cabral and sophomore forward Gavin Schauder. All four underclassmen have recorded substantial minutes for the team in the winter season.

Last season, the Ithaca College men’s basketball team heavily relied on their upperclassmen, with four out of five starters being seniors or graduate students. However, this year, much has changed, with many underclassmen shining for the Bombers. Now, the team holds a 10–6 record and had a 9–3 start compared to the team’s 7–5 start last season.

This year’s squad consists of 15 players on the roster, with five being first-year students and three being sophomores. Of the eight underclassmen, five have played all 16 games this season and are getting a substantial amount of minutes. 

From last year, the team has lost a total of seven players and have five new players this season. Junior guard Logan Wendell talked about the talent and camaraderie that this new first-year class holds and brings to the team, both on and off the court.

“We love having them around,” Wendell said. “I think they’ve brought us all closer together, even just being [first-year students] as well. And then in terms of on the court, they’re just super capable players. Integrating them was no problem, just because of how talented they are really.”

For these first-year players, many of them seek advice and guidance from the upperclassmen on the team. First-year forward Alex Penders has played a significant role for the team this season, winning Liberty League Rookie of the Week for his performance against the University of Rochester on Dec. 6. Penders attributes the team’s success to the leadership of the upperclassmen and their effective teaching and guidance. The more they learn from them, the better they get.

“We have a really good group of captains and leaders on the squad,” Penders said. “I think you see that in the way that we play [and] the record that we have, especially when it comes to the fact that we have three guys in most of the rotation as firstyears. We’re all learning things from those upperclassmen [and] trying to pick up as much as we can in practices and film sessions and games.”

So far, Penders and first-year guards Jaylon O’Neal and Evan Cabral have seen the court every single game. Cabral said he appreciated being able to get a shot so early, particularly highlighting the significant impact the upperclassmen have.

“We’ve benefited tremendously,” Cabral said. “As underclassmen, we’re just taking all knowledge and soaking it up like a sponge and just trying to have an open mind and hearing everything, so when it translates to the game, we understand what they’re trying to get to.”

So far this season, Cabral has started every single game, leading the team in steals and fourth in scoring. He spoke about the accelerated track into a more prominent role and how his support system has helped him thrive in it. 

“I’ve definitely had to mature quicker than usual [first-year students] have to do,” Cabral said. “Stepping into that role with definitely filling big shoes from upperclassmen last year was definitely hard at first, but I’ve definitely had a bunch of leadership and knowledge from upperclassmen and the coaching staff that helped me get to where I’m at right now.”

Penders talked about having to change his role on a team once he got here.

“I’ve had to adjust the way that I play from high school where you get a lot of shots [and] you play a lot of minutes, to now where it’s more of a reserved role,” Penders said. “The biggest adjustment for me is becoming more shootingoriented … making sure that when I get my opportunities, I’m making plays.”

On top of the first-year students, the Bombers have seen an increase of production from their sophomore students since last season. Sophomore guard Cole Wissink and sophomore forward Gavin Schauder both only saw the court in 11 games last season, compared to playing in all 16 games this season so far. 

Schauder has started 14 of 16 games and Wissink has started the last two games for the team. Both are looked to as reliable teammates who can finish both inside and from behind the 3-point line. Schauder talked about his and Wissink’s roles changing from past seasons.

“Last season, we were more expected to help our team prepare and practice for games,” Schauder said. “This year, we kind of have to lock in more on actually executing on the court when we do these things in practice to prepare. It’s completely different, obviously. It is a big step-up, but that’s why we’re here in the first place.”

Wissink described the overall play style that has come with a smaller team, with this year’s squad relying on guards more than forwards and centers.

“We have a whole different set of players,” Wissink said. “This year, we only really have two bigs. So this year, we’re running a lot more through our guard actions. … I think our play style is a lot more different than it was last year and more players are able to excel in this playing system.”

While these players arrived during a time of many opportunities, they did not receive their spots easily; instead, they earned them. Wendell gave them high praise, explaining that these players’ work ethic is hard to match.

“When you get to college, obviously you want to play right away, and they came into a situation where there was just a ton of opportunity,” Wendell said. “I really admire the way they looked at it. They didn’t see it like, ‘Oh, these guys are gone, like I’m going to play.’ You look at these underclassmen, and they’re in the gym all the time working on their game. I love just seeing kids in the gym trying to get better and literally all of them are that way.”

The Bombers have nine regular season games left, with all of them being against Liberty League opponents. With that, Penders said the team’s top goal for the rest of the season is to win the Liberty League.

“Number one [goal] is to win the Liberty League Championship,” Penders said. “We want to bring that title back to Ithaca [College], but [it’s] a long way to go [and] a lot of good teams this year.”



Leave a Comment
Donate to THE ITHACAN
$1495
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Your donation will support The Ithacan's student journalists in their effort to keep the Ithaca College and wider Ithaca community informed. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
About the Contributors
Flynn Hynes
Flynn Hynes, Assistant Sports Editor
Kaeleigh Banda
Kaeleigh Banda, Assistant Photo Editor
Donate to THE ITHACAN
$1495
$2000
Contributed
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Ithacan Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *