The Gustavus men’s basketball team is set to open its 2011-12 season with a non-conference test on the road in Storm Lake, Iowa against Buena Vista University. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on Stretch Internet via the link below and KRDS 95.5 FM.
To start the 2011-12 campaign; Head Coach Mark Hanson, now entering his 22nd season at the helm of the Gustavus men’s basketball program, will need to address the loss of two-year starters Phil Wirtjes and Dan Schmidtknecht in the backcourt. Beyond that, the Gusties return eight players who averaged over ten minutes per game last season. Strong guard play and an increased presence are key this season as senior captains Seth Anderson, Tyler Grey, and Bobby Johnson lead this year’s Gusties on their quest to improve last season’s 15-13 overall record and fifth place finish in the MIAC at 11-9.
Seth Anderson (Minnesota Lake, Minn.) returns to the backcourt as the team’s leading scorer and only returning All-Conference performer from a year ago. Anderson shot 57.7-percent (161-279) from the field and scored an average of 13.7 points per game last season. Anderson was one of the hottest players in the MIAC down the backstretch last year, scoring over 40-percent of his total points in the last seven games. Within that time-frame, he scored an average of 23.7 points per game and shot 64-percent from the floor.
Along with Anderson on the perimeter returns junior Jim Hill (Edina, Minn.), senior Tyler Grey (Montevideo, Minn.), junior Ben Biewen (Edina, Minn.), and senior Adam Michel (New Prague, Minn.). Hill is Gustavus’ only other returner that averaged double-figures last season at 11.0 points per game. Grey returns to the court as the squad’s top three-point threat from last season, knocking down 29 triples at a 39.7-percent rate. Both Biewen and Michel will likely see an elevated role this season. Biewen will be called upon to split point guard duties, while Michel is an added lengthy wing on the perimeter. Adding depth to the backcourt will be sophomore Jordan Dick (Wabasha, Minn.) and senior Ty Moore (Brooklyn Park, Minn.).
Bobby Johnson (Edina, Minn.) will once again anchor the Gustavus frontcourt. Johnson averaged 8.5 points per game last season to lead all Gustavus post players, despite missing the early portion of the year due to injury. As his health increased, so did Johnson’s production over the course of the season, finishing the year shooting 54-percent from the field and averaging four rebounds per game.
Coach Hanson also returns his top rebounder and shot blocker in Paul Blacklock (Winona, Minn.). Blacklock scored 5.5 points per game and averaged 6.2 boards while finishing with a total of 42 blocks (2nd/MIAC). Reed Sallstrom (Winthrop, Minn.) came off the bench to contribute 15 minutes per game while shooting 60.2-percent from the field and averaging 4.8 points per game. Blake Shay (Lakeville, Minn.) rounds out the group. Shay saw time in both the paint and on the perimeter last season and will likely reprise that role heading into the year.
Gustavus scored an average of 73.9 points per game last season and shot 48.8-percent from the field, the second-highest percentage in the league. Opponents shot 46.1-percent (8th/MIAC) from the field against the Gusties, as they gave up an average of 71.4 points per game (8th/MIAC).