Minus Harris and Longley, Wittenberg Returns Strong Nucleus For Upcoming Season
Looking at the 2003-04 Season
The Wittenberg University men's basketball team expects the return of seven letterwinners as it prepares for the 2003-04 season in pursuit of winning a third North Coast Athletic Conference (NCAC) championship in the past four seasons. The 2002-03 Tigers' two-year reign as NCAC regular season champions ended with a second place finish. Still, the Tigers were able to achieve another 20-win season, compiling an overall record of 20-6.
The Tigers graduated two outstanding players from last year's squad - first-team All-NCAC selection B.J. Harris and second-team honoree Kevin Longley. Harris and Longley led the Tigers in scoring and rebounding each of the last two years and finished their Tiger careers with an outstanding four-year team record of 88-26. Both players capped their stellar careers by joining the exclusive 1,000 point club as well as having grabbed more than 700 rebounds apiece. This totals rank Harris 19th all-time in scoring and 8th in rebounding and Longley 24th in scoring and 11th in rebounding.
Heading the list of returnees this season are two seniors, Peter Walker (Louisville, Ky./St.Xavier) and Rod Emmons (South Bend, Ind./John Adams). Walker, a 6-7 forward, was third on the team in scoring (10.3) and rebounding (4.5) in a part-time starting role. He shot better than 50 percent from the field and a team-best 80 percent from the free throw line. Emmons, a 6-1 wing, started 24 of the team's 26 games, averaging a team-high 25.8 minutes per outing as well as 9.0 points and 3.3 rebounds per game. He posted a career-high 38 points in an overtime victory at Wabash, the highest point total for a Wittenberg player in more than 10 years.
Other returning letterwinners expected to vie for starting positions and key playing roles are 6-0 junior guard Danny Brywczynski (Dayton, Ohio/Northmont), 6-3 junior wing Andy Bucheit (Cincinnati, Ohio/LaSalle), 6-1 sophomore wing Brett Bowen (Arcadia, Ind./Hamilton Heights), 5-10 junior guard Kenny Molz (Kettering, Ohio/Fairmont) and 6-9 sophomore Daniel Russ (Louisville, Ky./Trinity).
Brywczynski started all 26 games and topped the team in assists with 58 while averaging 4.9 points. Bucheit ranked among the NCAC leaders in three-point shooting percentage (46.8) while averaging 9.0 points and 2.5 rebounds per outing. Bowen worked his way into the playing rotation by midseason and averaged 2.4 points and 1.3 rebounds. Molz was a valuable reserve at the point guard position, contributing 45 assists and 5.0 points per game. Russ proved to be one of the best freshmen in the conference as he appeared in all 26 games off the bench and averaged 8.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game. He also led the team in blocked shots with 21.
The Tigers have, in keeping with tradition, put together a very challenging schedule for the 2003-04 season. In addition to their very demanding NCAC schedule, the Tigers will also test themselves with difficult non-conference games. This year's Wittenberg/Kiwanis Tip Off Classic includes Eastern University (Pa.), Washington University (Mo.), and the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. On Thanksgiving weekend the Tigers will play at the Hanover College (Ind.) tournament against the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire and either Olivet College (Mich.) or host Hanover. The rest of the non-conference schedule includes local NAIA scholarship schools Cedarville University and Urbana University, long-time, traditional foe Otterbein College, perennial Ohio Athletic Conference power Ohio Northern University, and former NCAC member Case Western Reserve University. 2003-04 BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
Wittenberg is the winningest program among all 430 NCAA Division III basketball programs by victories (1,458) and is second in winning percentage (.707). When compared to all NCAA basketball programs, Wittenberg's winning percentage ranks eighth, in front of such powers as UCLA, Kansas, Syracuse and Duke. In addition, the Tigers have more Division III tournament appearances (21), victories (42) and Final Four berths (6) than any other program in the country. In 47 consecutive winning seasons, dating back to 1956-57, the Tigers have averaged 21 wins per season and won 29 regular season conference titles.
2003-04 Tiger Team InformationLetterwinners Returning: (7)
Danny Brywczynski (G, 6-0, 165, Jr.)
Andy Bucheit (W, 6-3, 175, Jr.)
Rod Emmons (G, 6-0, 175, Sr.)
Peter Walker (F, 6-7, 190, Sr.)
Brett Bowen (W, 6-1, 170, Jr.)
Kenny Molz (G, 5-10, 155, Jr.)
Daniel Russ (P, 6-9, 190, So.)
Letterwinners Lost: (2)
B.J. Harris (P, 6-7, 230, 12.6 pts, 7.9 reb)
Kevin Longley (P, 6-7, 220, 10.5 pts, 6.2 reb)
Other Returning Players: (8)
Dane Borchers (F, 6-8, 200, So.)
Kenny Brady (F, 6-4, 210, So.)
Phil Steffes (W, 6-0, 170, So.)
Tigers in the NCAC
Wittenberg is the winningest team in the NCAC when records are compared for the league's 18-year history in conference games. The Tiger's 13-year NCAC record is 214-38 (.850). Wittenberg has won the regular season title nine of the 13 years it has been in the league.
Home Sweet Home
Wittenberg's home court has traditionally been a very difficult place for opponents to play. Since the 1957-58 season, the Tigers have an incredible 476-54 record at home for a .900 winning percentage. Since moving into the HPER Center in 1982, Wittenberg is 271-32 at home for a .900 winning mark in all games. In all NCAC regular season games since joining the conference in 1989, the Tigers have an even more amazing 218-18 home record for .910 percent. Much of this success is fueled by enthusiastic crowds that annually rank Wittenberg in the top ten for home game attendance among all NCAA Division III institutions.
Head Coach Bill Brown
Head Coach Bill Brown (Wittenberg '73) has a record of 226-57 (.800) in 10 seasons at his alma mater. His teams are 144-23 in NCAC play and 11-6 in NCAA tournament action. The Tigers have won five NCAC regular season titles in Brown's 10 years. Under Brown's direction, Wittenberg teams have appeared in six NCAA Division III national tournaments with a trip to the Final Four in 1993-94, an Elite Eight appearance in 1995-96, and a Sweet Sixteen trip in 2001-02.
Tigers on the Radio
WULM (AM 1600) carries all the action of Wittenberg Tiger basketball, both at home and on the road. Coverage includes 15-minute pre-game and post-game shows with head coach Bill Brown as well as with selected Tiger players. Veteran sportscaster Marty Bannister calls the play-by-play.
Wittenberg on the Web/Teamline
Wittenberg's web site offers up-to-date information on the team. Scores, results, stats, box scores and the most recent press releases are all available to anyone with access to the internet. In addition, new this year is a partnership with Stretch Internet to offer unlimited online broadcasts of Wittenberg sporting events that are carried by WULM. Click Here to get to the broadcast Web site. Wittenberg University's home page address is www.wittenberg.edu.
In addition, all of WULM's broadcasts can also be heard anywhere in the world through an arrangement with TEAMLINE. TEAMLINE is accessed on a touchtone phone by calling 1-800-846-4700.
Wittenberg University is one of America's foremost undergraduate liberal arts and sciences universities. The school, founded in 1845, has over the past 157 years built an impressive reputation for academic distinction and for preparing outstanding graduates for successful professional careers and rewarding lives. Wittenberg, which has one of only 258 Phi Beta Kappa chapters nationwide, is mentioned in glowing terms in nearly every college reference book.