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Opinion

Men’s basketball returns key player

October 17, 2013

UW-River Falls Falcon basketball fans who attend games or tune in on the campus radio station will see and hear a familiar name running up and down the court.

Senior center Ollie White returns to the Falcons this season one year after having his season cut drastically short by a hernia injury.

White was hoping to lead a young Falcon team to the national tournament for the third time in his UWRF career. Instead he watched from the sideline for the majority of the season as a young team struggled through one of the more disappointing seasons in Falcon basketball history.

The team came into the year off of back-to-back national tournament appearances and was hoping to build on this success during White’s senior year and into the future. Obviously that did not work out.

The 2013-2014 UWRF Falcon Men will again be led by Ollie White. How does this turnaround start? When asked this question last week on my radio show with Bryan Tester, White pondered for a moment and said with hard work and some luck.

“You don’t always have Brian Kimble and Shane Manor walking into your team like we had those two years. This year it is about a foundation of guys working together to accomplish one goal,” White said.

White would go on to say that although they have an enormous amount of talent on the roster, it will not all happen just because he is back. Pointing to other players, White said a year of growth for them, plus other players who either played hurt last year or missed games, will add up to a successful season.

I am sure all Falcon basketball fans hope to see White and the Falcons reach their 20 win total, and make another run at a national tournament, but it all relies on one thing White mentioned: luck.

The Falcons play in arguably the strongest Div. III men’s basketball conference in the country. Each year you can count on at least one team making national waves, and for the last decade or so it has been the UW-Whitewater Warhawks and the UW-Stevens Point Pointers.

For the Falcons to regain some national attention they will have to steal some games from greater opponents and then hope that luck is on their side come selection day.

As for wins and losses, it all begins and ends with the man in the middle, and whether or not he can regain his form of 2011-12, during which he averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds per game. That year, the Falcons had more weapons, and developing some young guards will make life for the Falcon’s and their fans alike, more enjoyable.

Brandon Jones is a senior journalism major minoring in political science. Sports means the world to him. The sound of a ball cracking against a bat, a ref blowing his whistle: It all means the same thing for him -- happiness. We all have our thing, his is sports.