DEFIANCE, OHIO - The Defiance College men's basketball team will look to rebuild during the 2017-18 season under the guidance of third year head coach Scott Cutter. The Purple and Gold roster will feature six returners and 11 newcomers, including nine freshman.
"We're really excited about where our program is at. We've graduated so many good players in recent years, and we are in the process of building it back up," said head coach Scott Cutter. "We are extremely young, but we like the group of players we're moving forward with."
Here is the breakdown of the 2017-18 men's basketball team, by position:
Defiance will look to top returner, senior Jonathan Ragland (Wilmette, Ill./Loyola Academy). Ragland, a season ago, averaged 11.2 minutes per game, shooting 46.2 percent (18-39) from behind the arc and 40.3 percent (31-77) from the field.
In addition, the Purple and Gold returns junior Randall Aikins Jr. (Detroit, Mich./Plymouth), sophomores Keith McClure (Toledo/Toledo Christian) and Jordan Maschino (Bradford/Covington). Aikins appeared in 25 games making 16 starts for DC. The junior averaged 26.2 minutes per game, shot 42.5 percent (88-207) from the field and averaged 2.3 rebounds per contest.
McClure averaged 6.1 minutes per game for Defiance making 16 appearances, while Maschino saw action in nine games. The sophomore averaged 8.6 minutes per game and pulled down 1.7 rebounds per contest.
The Yellow Jackets will also rely heavily on newcomers, freshman Kiewuan Graham (Bloomfield Hills, Mich.), Devontae Kinnie (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Northside), Elijah Pennington (Indianapolis, Ind./Pike), Dakota Barkley (Columbia City, Ind./Churubusco), Avion Franklin (Toledo/Whitmer), Elijah Holmes (Ft. Wayne, Ind./Northside), Connor Custenborder (Versailles) and junior transfer Jovon Thomason (Port Huron, Mich.) to provide depth this season.
Thomason comes to DC after spending two seasons at Delta College where he saw action in 24 games. The junior averaged 6.6 points per game and pulled down 2.6 rebounds per contest for the Pioneers.
"On the perimeter, we feel like quickness will be our strength. We have a good combination of players that can create off the dribble, along with some guys that can knock in shots," added Cutter. "The thing I like most is that they play unselfish. As a group, they really do not care who scores, and they see the are good at finding the open man. They're also a group that can create some offense with our defense"
In the paint, Defiance returns junior, forward, Noah Goodrich (Oregon/Genoa). Goodrich saw action in all 25 games averaging 13.0 minutes per game. The junior concluded his sophomore campaign shooting 40.9 percent (38-93) from the field and grabbed 1.5 rebounds per contest.
The Purple and Gold will also look to freshman Demoines Whitney (Detroit, Mich./Western), freshman Cohen Nies (Logansport, Ind./Lewis Cass), sophomore DeMario Hill (Cincinnati/Taft) and junior transfer Allante Wheeler (Canton, Mich.) to play key roles in 2017-18.
Hill saw action in 19 games, making four starts for DC. He averaged 8.7 minutes per game, while shooting 51.9 percent (14-27) from the field and grabbed 1.9 rebounds per contest.
Wheeler comes to the Purple and Gold after also spending two seasons at Delta College where he appeared in 25 games averaging 8.1 points per contest. In addition, the junior finished the 2016-17 season averaging 3.1 boards per game and dished out 1.0 assists.
"In the post, like on the perimeter, we have a lot of young players. We are definitely bigger inside than we were a year ago, and more athletic. There is also a lot of competition between each other and they push each other every day to keep improving. We're excited to see how these guys develop throughout the year," said Cutter.
The Yellow Jackets open the 2017-18 season on Wednesday, November 15 as they welcome Ohio Mid-Western to the Karl H. Weaner Center.
The Purple and Gold then take to the road for a non-conference matchup with Olivet on Saturday, November 18 before returning home to face area rival Ohio Northern on Monday, November 20.
Defiance opens Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference action on Monday, November 27 when they travel to Manchester and will close out the month with a road game at Wilmington on Wednesday, November 29.
DC then returns home for a six game home stretch including the 42nd annual Purple and Gold Tournament to be held Friday, December 29 and Saturday, December 30.
The Yellow Jackets return to conference action Wednesday, January 3 when they take on Anderson. Defiance closes out the 18-game, double round-robin HCAC schedule with a game at Hanover on Saturday, February 17.
The HCAC Tournament is slated to begin Tuesday, February 20 with the Championship game to be held Saturday, February 24.