The same courtesy extended to Division I basketball programs this season — an extra two weeks of practice — didn’t make it down to the Division II level, but that’s not to say Newman men’s coach Mark Potter isn’t making the most of the time leading up to the Jets starting practice on Oct. 15.
There’s still eight hours over five days every week to work with — six hours of conditioning and lifting and two hours with basketballs — and there’s still recruiting to dive into.
“Things have gone well, we’ve got seven new players, so we’ve progressed where we need to be,” Potter said. “With that many new guys, you don’t go quite as fast with only two hours every week, but we won’t complain.”
Thursday, Potter and his assistants were on their way to Dallas for a junior-college jamboree featuring around 60 teams and several prep schools. The Jets are coming off their first NCAA Division II Tournament berth last season, a first-round loss to Midwestern State, and Potter saw a recruiting boon thanks to the added exposure.
The biggest pieces of the recruiting class are 6-foot-9 forward Kris Obaseki, a transfer from Oral Roberts, and 5-10 junior guard Perryonte Smith, a transfer from Otero (Colo.) Junior College. McPherson native Jack Pyle, a junior guard, also joins the Jets after two seasons at Hutchinson Community College.
“Perryonte is a good one, he’s a point guard that we know we’re going to be able to depend on,” Potter said. “We really like him and what he brings to the table. Jack is a tough kid, too. He’s going to get a chance to be freed up a little more offensively with us.”
Having practice start Oct. 15 isn’t necessarily a bad thing for the Jets, either. Senior forward Marquis Cuyler underwent meniscus surgery three weeks ago and should be ready for the first day of practice. Obaseki had some swelling in a knee and had to have a screw taken out. Potter anticipates he’ll miss the first week of practice.
Newman opens the season Nov. 9, hosting West Texas A&M, and will scrimmage against Hutchinson Community College, Fort Scott Community College and Southern Nazarene leading up to the opener.
Tiger troubles — Fort Hays State’s football team is off to another rough start under third-year coach Chris Brown.
The Tigers are 0-4 for the second straight year headed into Saturday’s game against William Jewell. Fort Hays started the season 1-3 in 2011, Brown’s first season after being hired from Washburn, where he was an assistant coach from 2002-10.
The Tigers haven’t had a winning season since going 6-5 under Kevin Verdugo in 2009 and haven’t had a better record than 6-5 since going 7-3 in 1996 under Tim O’Connor, when they still playing in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference.
Flickner honored — Bethel College will induct former volleyball coach and athletic director Diane Flickner into the school’s Hall of Fame on Friday.
Flickner was the Threshers’ athletic director from 1990 to 2011 before retiring in July and was Bethel’s volleyball coach from 1978 to 1989, winning KCAC titles in 8 of 11 seasons and leading the Threshers to third place at the NAIA national tournament in 1981.
As athletic director, she oversaw the construction of $5.5 million Thresher Stadium, where the football and men’s and women’s soccer teams play.