The Simpson men's basketball team was picked eighth in the Iowa Conference Preseason Coaches' Poll, released late last week.
Simpson received 16 points in the poll, behind Coe (21) and Wartburg (25). Buena Vista was picked to win the league, receiving five of a possible seven first-place votes for 53 points. Dubuque received three first-place votes and came in second with 50 points.
The Storm and fifth-year head coach Charles Zanders return four starters and eight letterwinners from last year's team that endured a 4-21 season and finished eighth in the Iowa Conference.
A Look at the 2014-15 Season
- Simpson is off to a 1-1 start on the season after splitting the first weekend of competition against MIAC foes Gustavus Adolphus and Augsburg. Simpson lost to Gustavus 66-58 in the opener on Saturday, Nov. 15 but beat Augsburg 66-53 on Sunday.
According to Coach Zanders
- On last season ...
- "Our guys don't like the taste of 4-21. That's more motivation than anything that I can say. They don't want to be 4-21 and knew we were better than that [last year]."
- On keys to success this season ...
- "Defense. Defense. Defense. Defense is going to carry us. We were last in the league in defensive field goal percentage and last in rebounding. Those two things are very near to my heart and what my coaching career has been based on. For us not to have success in either of those areas ate at me all offseason."
- Charles Swain | G, 6-2, 185, Sr.
- 3-year letterwinner from Austin, Texas ... 2-time all-conference performer ... named 2nd Team all-IIAC in 2013-14 and HM all-IIAC in 2012-13 ... 2013-14: Led team and ranked 7th in the IIAC with 14.2 points per game ... tied for second on the team in 3-pointers (27) ... ranked 4th in the IIAC in FT percentage (81.5).
- Chad Gutschenritter | PG, 5-11, 165, Jr.
- 1-year letterwinner from West Des Moines, Iowa ... 2013-14: Started 20 games, averaging 13.2 points and 3.1 rebounds while playing more than 30 minutes per game ... finished 2nd in the IIAC in assists (3.90) and steals (1.75) per game ... led team with 31 3-pointers ... 1.73 assist/turnover ratio was 5th in the IIAC.
- Dillon Gretzky | G, 6-1, 170, Jr.
- 1-year letterwinner from Grinnell, Iowa ... 2013-14: Started 24 of 25 games, averaging 10.8 points and 2.6 rebounds ... tied for 2nd on the team with 27 3-pointers.
- Tyler Anderson | G, 6-4, 185, Sr.
- From West Des Moines, Iowa ... 2013-14: Transferred to Simpson from NCAA Division II Truman State at semester ... started 11 of 16 games, averaging 9.3 points and 4.6 rebounds per game.
Other Key Returners
- Leif Olson | F, 6-7, 245, Jr.
- 1-year letterwinner from Northfield, Minn. ... 2013-14: 6.0 PPG, 3.1 RPG ... started 9 games in 25 appearances ... team's 2nd-leading rebounder.
- DJ Dafney | G, 6-2, 190, So.
- 1-year letterwinner from West Des Moines, Iowa ... 2013-14: 2.7 PPG, 2.4 RPG ... started 4 times in 25 appearances.
- Ryan Skaar | G, 6-2, 180, So.
- 1-year letterwinner from Story City, Iowa ... 2013-14: 2.7 PPG ... went 12-for-35 from 3-point range ... appeared in 23 games.
- Austin Turner | G, 5-11, 160, So.
- 1-year letterwinner from San Antonio, Texas ... 2013-14: 1.8 PPG, 1.3 RPG ... served as backup poing guard ... appeared in 24 of 25 games.
By the Numbers
- 698: Senior guard Charles Swain entered this season with 698 career points, well within reach of the 1,000-point milestone. Through two games this season he has upped the total to 722.
- 73.8: Simpson returns 73.8 percent of its scoring from a year ago, including 4 of the top 5 scorers (Swain 14.2 ppg, Gutschenritter 13.2 ppg, Gretzky 10.8 ppg, Anderson 9.3 ppg).
- 4: Number of players on the varsity roster standing 6-7 or taller. Cort Singleton (6-9), Vaughn Wilson (6-8), Leif Olson (6-7) and Cody Isabel (6-7) make up an impressive Simpson frontcourt.