Young Warhawks again have high expectations

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Gazette staff
Friday, November 18, 2011
— The men’s basketball program at UW-Whitewater has been in good hands under Pat Miller.

Now entering his 11th season as head coach, Miller has the fourth-highest winning percentage in WIAC history and has led the Warhawks to four conference titles.

Miller figures to build on his impressive resume this season. The Warhawks are young but talented heading into tonight’s nonconference and season-opener against Concordia University.

“I’m pretty pleased with where we’re at right now with how young we are,” Miller said. “Learning the offense, which is pretty complicated, can be difficult, but we’re further along than I thought we would be.”

Despite losing three starters to graduation, including D.J. Dantzler and Antone Byrd, Miller said expectations remain the same.

“We always set the bar high here,” Miller said. “My expectations, and those of everyone involved in our program are the same. We want to compete at a national level.”

The Warhawks will build around all-everything forward Chris Davis. The 6-foot-6 senior and Madison East graduate averaged 21.3 points and 9.0 rebounds per game last season in earning All-WIAC first-team honors.

“Chris is a great guy to build a team around,” Miller said. “He puts so much pressure on the defense because of his ability to create from anywhere on the offensive end. Plus, he’s become a great passer out of the post.”

Davis will be joined in the starting lineup by junior and Janesville Craig graduate Lucas Burns (6-5), sophomore Cody Odegaard (6-2), sophomore and Elkhorn High graduate Eric Bryson (6-3), along with freshman point guard Quardell Young (6-0).

“Odegaard and Bryson are both very good perimeter shooters,” Miller said. “Lucas has to be solid for us and be able to knock down shots playing the four (position) for us. Quardell is a playmaker, who right now, is doing what we’re asking of him.”

Freshman Justin Scanlan

(6-6) and junior Luke Knoble (6-5) will back up in the post, while Alex Merg (6-1) and Charlie Fischer (6-5) provide backcourt depth.

Miller believes freshman Creed Knutson (6-5), a Janesville Parker graduate, has a chance to play his way into the rotation.

Whitewater won 17 games a year ago, but Miller believes it could’ve been higher if the Warhawks had played better defensively.

“The one thing that plagued us last year was our lack of consistency defensively,” Miller said. “We just don’t have the margin of error to not play hard on each possession on both ends of the court.”

If the Warhawks can restore that area, a run at Miller’s fifth WIAC title is within reach.

Whitewater’s schedule:

(All home games at Kachel Gymnasium in Williams Center)

NOVEMBER: 18—Concordia University (River Forest, Ill.), 6 p.m.; 19—Dominican University (River Forest, Ill.), 4 p.m.; 22—At Wisconsin Lutheran College, 7 p.m.; 27—At Hamline University, 3 p.m.; 30—Illinois Wesleyan, 7 p.m.

DECEMBER: 3—UW-Stout, 6 p.m.; 7—UW-La Crosse, 7 p.m.; 10—At UW-Eau Claire, 5 p.m.; 14—At UW-Stevens Point, 7 p.m.; 20—At National Invitational Tournament (San Antonio), 7 p.m.; 21—At National Invitational Tournament (San Antonio), 4 p.m.; 30—At Marian University, 7 p.m.

JANUARY: 4—Edgewood College, 7 p.m.; 7—UW-River Falls, 6 p.m.; 11—UW-Platteville, 7 p.m.; 14—UW-Superior, 3 p.m.; 18—At UW-Oshkosh, 7 p.m.; 21—At UW-Stout, 6 p.m.; 23—UW-Stevens Point, 7 p.m.; 28—UW-Eau Claire, 5 p.m.

FEBRUARY: 1—At Uw-La Crosse, 7 p.m.; 8—At UW-Platteville, 7 p.m.; 11—At UW-Superior, 3 p.m.; 15—UW-Oshkosh, 7 p.m.; 18—At UW-River Falls, 5 p.m.

Last updated: 2:18 pm Thursday, December 20, 2012

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