A deeper, more experienced Norse squad poised for another run at a league title
Darrin Horn’s tenure as the coach of the Norse has been quite the ride. After winning the conference tournament in 2020 only to have the tournament suspended due to the pandemic, he had to almost completely rebuild the Norse roster. The 2021 Norse had to replace stars Jalen Tate, Dantez Walton and Tyler Sharpe. While it took a while to find their footing, by the end of the season they were rolling as they closed out the regular season with an 8-2 record.
All of the core pieces from last years roster have returned. A trio of seniors will anchor the starting lineup with Trevon Faulkner, Bryson Langdon and Adrian Nelson all returning. Last season, Faulkner took over the mantle as the lead scorer and team leader and is poised for another standout campaign. Langdon developed into a steady and dependable point guard who can hit big shots in key moments. Nelson was one of the most efficient scorers and best rebounders in the nation last year despite being undersized at the five.
That trio was supplemented with a strong class of freshman in Marques Warrick, David Bohm and Trey Robinson. Silky smooth Warrick lit up the scoreboard on his way to a Horizon League Freshman of the Year Award. David Bohm went from a somewhat unknown from Montverde Academy and the Czech Republic, to looking like a future star. The 6-9 forward showed the ability to do it all as a solid stretch four. Trey Robinson showed explosive flashes of upside and will likely have some time to develop on the deeper 2022 Norse squad.
With the Norse returning so much talent as well as the upside from their young trio, they need for high level transfers was low. The coaching staff took the approach of building depth by adding a solid wing player in Seybian Sims and an athletic forward in Detroit Mercy transfer Chris Brandon. Sims should provide an all around improvement off the bench as a competent three point shooter with size and above average defense. Brandon should take some pressure off of Nelson in the post and help improve the interior defense.
The biggest additions could come from another intriguing recruiting class. Sam Vinson is the big get after leading the Highlands Blue Birds to a State Championship and falling just short of being named Kentucky Mr. Basketball. Could he be Darrin Horn’s version of Drew McDonald? The local Highland Heights product can do just about everything on the court and has the upside to be the face of the next great Norse team. Add to that a solid freshman guard in Isaiah Mason, an intriguing sharp shooter from Lithuania in Hubertas Pivorius and a project 7-foot center in Imanuel Zorgvol, and you have the makings of a really interesting recruiting class.
The Norse have the components to be a strong offensive team but they will need to improve their three point shooting in order to take the next step as last season they shot disappointing 30.7 from behind the arc. They will also need to tune up the defense which allowed 71.2 ppg last season and over 35 percent from behind the arc. Hopefully with natural development from their young players as well as the addition of solid defensive players in Sims and Brandon the Norse defense will improve.
The floor for this Norse team is pretty high. A solid balance of experience, talent and upside should lead to a finish in the top four in the league at minimum. There is certainly the upside of a league title if everything clicks right. This is a deep and talented Norse squad that will likely sneak up on fans in the Horizon League.
Miss anything from Preview Week? Check it all out below:
Cleveland State • Wright State • Milwaukee • Detroit Mercy
Northern Kentucky • Oakland • Purdue Fort Wayne • Youngstown State
UIC • Robert Morris • Green Bay • IUPUI
Green Bay (WBB) • Cleveland State (WBB)