Raiders the clear favorites in the Horizon League
Wright State comes into the 2020-21 season as heavy favorites in the Horizon League, returning last year’s Player of the Year, Loudon Love. Not many have been bold enough to pick against the Raiders, and that is a smart choice.
Wright State went a stellar 25-7 last year, 15-3 in the Horizon League. Now the team will need to figure out how to replace Second Team All-League wing Bill Wampler and Third Team All-League point guard Cole Gentry plus a number of veteran role players. If Head Coach Scott Nagy can find answers at point guard and shooters on the perimeter, the Raiders should be in a position to win another Horizon League Title.
Tim Finke – This season the big addition to the squad is the 6-foot-6 sophomore wing from Champaign, Illinois. Finke was originally ranked as the #2 player in his class from his home state but decided to go to Grand Canyon. That did not work, as he shot 37% at GCU. He now finds himself in Dayton after averaging 3.5 points and 2.9 rebounds per game with the Lopes.
Andrew Welage – The 6-foot-6 shooting guard chose the Raiders over mid-major powerhouses Nevada and Vermont. Welage averaged 21.3 points, 6.3 rebounds and 4.4 assists per game as a senior at Greenburg High School on his way to being named an Indiana ‘Supreme 15’ All-State Selection. Welage brings another shooter with good size to the Raiders’ roster. He shot 46.6 percent from beyond the arc as a senior after hitting more than half of his three-pointers as a junior.
Dre Harris – Redshirt freshman Dre Harris was going to have a hard time breaking into the Wright State rotation last year. The 6-foot-3 guard lost out against a group that featured 10 upperclassmen and multiple Horizon League All-Freshman Team picks, as well as the team’s projected starting point guard Trey Calvin. He averaged 17.9 points per game at Brush High School in 2019.
Alex Huibregtse – Another sharpshooting freshman, Huibregtse averaged 24.2 points per game while knocking down 47.3 percent of his 3-pointers en route to being named to Wisconsin’s Division II All-State First Team. His 7.3 points per game on the EYBL circuit don’t exactly jump off the page, but the fact that he was able to hit over 44 percent of his 3-pointers against stronger competition than he faces at Grafton High School would seem to indicate the shooting could translate very well to the college level.
Brandon Noel – The 6-foot-8 forward averaged 18.0 points per game as a senior on his way to being a Ohio First Team All-State Division 1 selection. Wright State Head Coach Scott Nagy highlighted Noel’s ability to score in the post or on the perimeter. While the emergence of Grant Basile and James Mann could keep Noel from playing many minutes early, having another player with size and shooting ability is never a bad problem to have.
Trey Calvin – The graduation of All-League point guard Cole Gentry and graduate transfer Jordan Ash has forced the Raiders to move sophomore Trey Calvin into a role that’ll see him running the offense far more often in 2021. Calvin averaged 4.8 points, 2.1 rebounds and 1.0 assists in just 18.5 minutes per game as a freshman. Calvin will need to improve on his assist numbers and assist-to-turnover ratio this year. Having a pair of players who convert on shots far more often than they miss playing in the frontcourt should help accomplish that.
Jaylon Hall – Hall was a solid but unspectacular starter for Wright State in his first year back after being sidelined by a knee injury in 2019. He averaged 7.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.9 assists as a sophomore. With Cole Gentry and Bill Wampler graduating, the team will likely need Hall to step into a bigger role as a junior. Given that Calvin isn’t a true point guard, Hall will also likely have to act as a primary ballhandler.
Tim Finke – Wright State is hoping fresh scenery will help Tim Finke return to the form that had him. One bright spot during Finke’s time at GCU is that he was able to maintain an efficient shooting clip from beyond the 3-point arc. Finke hit 36.7 percent of his 3-point attempts on the year. If Finke can maintain a high 3-point percentage on more volume, he’ll be a key piece to a team that lost
Tanner Holden – Holden was named to the Horizon League All-Freshman team last season, starting all but four games for the Raiders. He was Wright State’s third leading scorer a year ago, averaging 11.8 points per game. Holden is one of the best shooters in the country, ranking 12th in eFG% and 22nd in TS% a year ago. He had a total of 20 double digit scoring games. The ball will always tend to go to either him or Love under the net, in their faster tempo offense.
Loudon Love – Obviously, the Raiders leader is Loudon Love. Love was the 2017-18 Horizon League Freshman of the Year, leading the Raiders to the NCAA Tournament. He has only grown since then, becoming an All-Horizon First Team member in 2018-19, Player of the Year in 2019-20, and a Lou Henson All-American in 2019-20.
Love will be in contention for national All-America talks, as he hopes to lead the Raiders to their first dance since his Freshman year. Last year he killed all facets of the game, averaging 16.7 points and 9.9 rebounds per game. Love had the #10 offensive rating and drew the 12th most fouls per 40 minutes in the country last season.
Once again, Wright State enters the season as the strong favorite to repeat as Horizon League Champion. The Raiders still have Loudon Love in a league where few teams have anything resembling an answer for him. They also bring back multiple All-Freshman Team members who could see significant boosts in their second seasons on the court.
One weakness for the Raiders is depth. They bring back very little off the bench and will have to rely on Freshman to make a difference. The other three were very lightly recruited by other Division One schools, if any. COVID really impacted not on the athletic department and university as a whole, but recruiting as well. It’s clear that the team targeted shooters in recruiting, but remains to be seen if those shooters can translate to the Division I level.
While it’s obviously too early to make a prediction on Wright State’s overall record given how COVID-19 has impacted scheduling, the Raiders will have at least one Quadrant One chance when they visit Illinois around Thanksgiving. Very little is known about the Raiders non-conference schedule outside of the Illinois MTE.
Prediction: 1st Place