By: Warren Gross (Whetstone Staff Writer)
Big wins, good coaching, and players stepping up have put the Wesley men’s basketball team on the national stage.
Led by the January DIII News North America Coach of the Month Jerry Kobasa, the team has earned national attention this season with wins against #1 Virginia Wesleyan and No. 9 Mount St. Mary’s.
With a recent win against Mount St. Mary’s, the team clinched a playoff spot in the CAC tournament.
For the first time in Wesley history, the team is ranked in the Division III top 25, at No. 24. A school record tying win streak of 11 was snapped in a rematch with Mount St. Mary’s on Jan. 21.
Kobasa and the players said they had expected good things this year with the leadership of the upperclassmen.
“We knew we could be a .500 team but with our upperclassmen leadership they brought us to new heights,” Kobasa said. “We aren’t a great team. We know we have to come out and play good basketball to win games.”
The players also said they expected to win as much as they lost this year
“We expected to be a .500 team coming off a bad year, we knew we had to talent to be where we are today,” said junior David Langan.
Junior Leo Rogers said the team is a confident one.
“We play a great system, we’re out there to make a name of ourselves,” he said. “We just glued together as a team, and we bonded off the court. We’re a very close team with good chemistry.
Kobasa said the team got key wins.
“Our big win was versus No. 1 Virginia Wesleyan here at home,” he said. “Another big win was vs. Mount St Mary’s when they were ranked No. 9. Quincy Pettiford hit a big shot vs. Wesleyan. Along with Quincy, David Langan, and Paul Reynolds have all played very consistent this year for us.”
It was those wins that put them on the map, Langan said
“Being ranked feels great but we’re not satisfied we have to keep it going,” he said.” We have some games left we expect to win those games heading into the conference tournament. We got a good chance at success in the NCAA tournament we have good guys and they know their roles.”
Rogers also agrees the team needs to keep going hard.
“This team is one of the better teams Wesley has seen over the few years were hungry for a national championship,” he said.
The Wolverine’s regular-season finale will be Feb. 16 at Wentworth Gym vs. Salisbury.