The McPherson College men’s basketball starting lineup that takes the Sport Center floor for Wednesday’s 7 p.m. season opener against Manhattan Christian College may look a lot different later in the season.
The Bulldogs will be without three potential starters as the injury bug has bitten and bitten hard.
Talented newcomers Dorian Paige and Lual Magot are out indefinitely. Paige, an exciting point guard, has a knee problem and Magot, a go-getter on the boards, has a foot injury. Brandon Carter, expected to provide inside muscle, has a bad ankle.
Fortunately, 10th-year Bulldog coach Tim Swartzendruber has plenty of depth and it will certainly be put to the test against arguably the best Manhattan Christian team the Bulldogs have faced in his tenure.
“Manhattan Christian is probably most talented team I've seen there for the 10 years we have played,” Swartzendruber said. “Very athletic. They have one tremendous guard named Shelden Williams. Williams has scored over 26 points in each of their first three games. They have changed their style from what they used to play and now are very similar to teams in KCAC, in other words try to score in transition and are active on glass. They don't run all the sets like they have in past.”
The Bulldogs are going to be playing small ball as Grant Munsen is the only starter taller than 6-3 and he’s only 6-5 and on the slender side. Careino Gurley is 6-3, but plays much bigger, while the lineup is rounded out with guards Aaron Bachura, Grant Raleigh and Garrett Owen. Off the bench will be Louis Parker III, Fred Watts, Jr., Parker Wolters and Jeff Oxford.
“I’m pleased with Fred Watts and Jeff Oxford as freshmen,” Swartzendruber said. “I love our chemistry and team culture. We have worked hard to improve our transition offense and defense.”
It’s a busy week for the Bulldogs as they host the McPherson College Classic on Friday and Saturday. The Bulldogs host Haskell at 8 p.m. Friday and Hastings College at 6 p.m. Saturday.