FORT WAYNE – If IPFW’s men’s basketball team started its season today – and it doesn’t – second-year coach Tony Jasick has an indication who he might place in the starting lineup.
I would say if we started a game today, Frank (Gaines) would start for us, Jasick said. That’s about all I can tell you. We’ll go one-on-five.
With practice beginning Friday, Jasick has four weeks before the season opener Nov. 9 at Auburn to discover the four other starters.
Gaines, the 6-foot-4 senior guard who was first-team All-Summit League last season, is the one sure thing the Mastodons have back from last year’s team that was 11-19 and finished tied for eighth in the conference at 5-13.
Gaines averaged 21.9 points and 5.9 rebounds last season.
We’ve got almost a new team, Jasick said. Obviously Frank coming back is going to get a lot of attention early, being an all-league guy last year. He had a good summer; probably been in the gym this summer more than he’s been in in his previous four or five summers, which is good, and we’re really seeing it.
What – or who – IPFW won’t be seeing are the other starters from last year’s team: center Trey McCorkle, guard Antwaun Boyd, forward John Peckinpaugh and point guard Jonny Marlin are all gone. The first three are departures via graduation. Marlin, the team leader in assists with an average of 3.5, bolted campus after his freshman year to try his hand as a walk-on at Indiana.
That opens the door for last year’s bench to be this year’s starters.
Mario Hines, a lean 6-8 center whose 7.1 scoring average ranked third, could step in for McCorkle. Michael Kibiloski, a 6-8 outside sniper, could help underneath, while Isaiah McCray and Joe Edwards, both of whom played as freshmen, could get more minutes at guard.
Former North Side standout Justin Jordan, who joined the team midseason last year after transferring from Saint Louis, could again rejoin the team midway through the year.
He is recovering from a torn ACL suffered in June.
Even though he isn’t sure of his starting lineup, Jasick is sure this year’s team will have more offensive firepower.
When people come watch us play, we’re going to have a significantly different feel than what we’ve had in the past, Jasick said. We’re much more dynamic offensively. I think we’re more athletic. We have better length defensively. I’m excited about it. I think we have a chance to take that next step with the program.