The Gustavus men’s basketball team will open its 2007-08 season at home on Saturday with a non-conference game against Luther College of Decorah, Iowa. The Gusties will be led by senior captains Trevor Wittwer and Kane Sivesind.
The 2007-08 Gustavus Adolphus College men’s basketball team will rely heavily on the leadership of senior captains Trevor Wittwer (Redwood Falls, Minn.) and Kane Sivesind (Madison, Wis.) early in the season while a young group of players grows into their more expanded roles. The Gusties will be looking to replace three-time all-conference post Phil Sowden, starting wing Andrew Olson, and starting post Jay Stien (all of whom graduated) from a squad that posted a mark of 14-13 overall and advanced to the semifinals of the MIAC Playoffs last year before falling to Saint John’s in Collegeville. The return of senior post Andrew Doble (Sarasota, Florida), senior guard Tyler Kaus (St. James, Minn.), junior point guard Mike DesLauriers (Minnetonka, Minn.), and sophomore wing Jesse Van Sickle (Garden City, Minn.) certainly gives Head Coach Mark Hanson a good core of players to work with, however this group is relatively inexperienced in regards to playing the majority of minutes and performing in a starting role.
Senior wing Trevor Wittwer is the most recognizable name on the Gustavus roster, as the three-year letterwinner was named to the MIAC All-Rookie Team in 2004-05, earned the MIAC Sixth Man of the Year Award in 2005-06, and was named to the all-conference team in 2006-07. A very versatile player, the 6-5 Wittwer can play on the perimeter or in the post. He led the team in scoring (13.1 ppg) and rebounding (5.2 rpg) a year ago, while shooting 61.7 percent from the field (121-196), recording 59 assists, and blocking 24 shots. Joining Wittwer on the wing is three-year letterwinner and three-point sharpshooter Kane Sivesind. The Madison, Wis. native was the Gusties first player of the bench last season. He averaged 23 minutes a game and led the team in three-point baskets made with 42 and led the MIAC in three-point field goal percentage at 51.5 percent (34-66).
Rounding out the perimeter for the Gusties will be senior guard Tyler Kaus, junior guard Mike DesLauriers, and sophomore wing Jessie Van Sickle. Kaus came off the bench at both the point guard and shooting guard spots last year and will likely do the same again this year. The three-year letterwinner can handle the ball well and has good three-point range. He played in 20 games last season averaging 2.4 point per game in approximately 10 minutes of play. DesLauriers moved into the starting point guard spot when Tyler Kramer was injured last season and maintained that spot for the final 15 games of the year. The Minnetonka, Minn. native is blessed with great court vision and can penetrate and dish out for the three as well. He averaged 3.2 points per game and dished out 42 assists, while committing only 29 turnovers. Van Sickle made a significant contribution off the bench as the shooting guard last season and will likely move into a starting role this year. He played in 26 of the team’s 27 games averaging 5.0 points per game, while shooting 50.0 percent from the field (49-98) and 43.8 percent from three-point range (21-48). Van Sickle gives the Gusties a solid shooting threat from the perimeter and he contributes well on the defensive end. Depth on the perimeter, will likely come from junior Robbie Schmidt (New Germany, Minn.), junior Tim Olmstead (Glencoe, Minn.), sophomore Derek Edie (Owatonna, Minn.) and newcomers Dan Schmidtknecht (La Crosse, Wis.) and Mathew Doble (Sarasota, Florida).
In the post, the Gusties will be inexperienced due to the graduation of Sowden and Stien. Senior Andrew Doble, a three-year letterwinner, played in every game off the bench last year and averaged 10.7 points per game. A southpaw, Doble is adept at hitting the 15-foot jumper as well as driving to the basket for the lay-in. An off-season leg injury has slowed him in the pre-season. Doble’s injury has allowed sophomore Sam Paulson to get extended practice time and the 6-9, Waseca, Minn. native, has responded well. Paulson spent most of his time on the junior varsity squad last season, however he has been productive on the offensive end and effective on the defensive end in pre-season workouts. Several players are battling for the third spot in the post rotation. That group includes sophomore Ryan McPartland (LeSueur, Minn.), sophomore Andrew Hartman (Eagan, Minn.) and sophomore Ky Battern (Osceola, Wis.).
As a team, Gustavus will once again look to play good pressure defense limiting quality shots by their opponents and then work the passing game for high quality, high percentage shots on the offensive end. It is a formula that has allowed the Gusties to qualify for the MIAC Playoffs in seven consecutive seasons and 14 times in Mark Hanson’s 17-year tenure as head coach.