FORT WAYNE – When talking about the SAC, the conversation is usually about the conferences outstanding guards. But this season might come down to who has the upper hand in the paint, with Concordia and North Side seeming to have a height advantage.
The Cadets and Redskins each have four 6-foot-5 players to help put both teams among the top contenders for the league title this year.
Concordias group includes seniors Marq Rogers, Thomas Starks, Brian Gremaux and junior D.J. McCall. North Side has been aided by two 6-5 move-ins, junior Mike Davis (from Michigan) and senior Dwight Richards (from Bishop Luers), as well as holdovers juniors Myluv Sutton and Oosha Mitchell.
Theres a definite advantage, North Side coach Shabaz Khaliq said. We go 6-5 across the front, and they are kids who not only have size, but they can stretch the defense because they shoot so well and they are strong kids. They are matchup problems for other teams who dont have the size to compete. Concordia has good length, but they dont have the girth that our kids have. Thats a lot of strength to deal with. Thats where our advantage is inside.
The Cadets advantage comes from the height and the wingspan of each player.
Concordia probably has the biggest team in the area, Wayne coach Aaron Rehrer said.
The SAC traditionally has a bevy of talented guards, and this year will be no exception, with twins Bryson and Brenton Scott leading the two-time defending SAC tournament champions, and the Blackmon brothers, junior James Jr. and freshman Vijay, pacing two-time defending regular-season champion Bishop Luers. James Jr. is committed to Indiana, while Vijay has received a scholarship offer from the Hoosiers.
But the SACs big men will make this an interesting year. Snider has 6-6 Josh Spitnale and a pair of 6-4 players in Jared Harvey and Martez Pharm.
Its going to be a dogfight (in the SAC), said Rehrer, whose team is guard-oriented. Theres not one night where you look at it, and say we are definitely going to win this game.
Thats kind of what Fort Wayne is all about. We dont usually have too many bigs. The conference is very, very guard-heavy, and it is full of D-I talent across the board.
Northrop isnt blessed with a lot of size but can make up for it with the Scotts. The 6-2 Bryson committed to Purdue and 6-foot Brenton to Indiana State. The Bruins will play in the Hall of Fame Classic on Dec. 28.
We have extremely high goals, but we know we have a tough schedule, Northrop coach Barak Coolman said. Our goal is to win a state championship, but we have a lot of little goals along the way. Any time you play a basketball game, your goal should be to win it. Does that mean we are trying to go undefeated? No, but we are trying to win every game.
Our goal in our schedule is to try to help us prepare for the postseason and get to experience some things that will be once in a lifetime. Its not going to be easy by any means, but we are going to play the best people we can, and maybe it will expose some things.