The experience might not be there for the Trine men, but the competitive spirit remains in search of a seventh straight winning season.
Coming off a 14-12 season (9-5 in the MIAA), the Thunder return three players – juniors Myles Copeland and Jared Dishop and sophomore Langston Johnson – who earned significant playing time last season with a fourth veteran, sophomore Jason Clune, out for the year with a broken foot.
Brooks Miller is in his seventh season leading the program and has yet to have a losing record, finishing in the top four of the MIAA each season as well.
“What we have geared into over that time is the consistency of focusing on what we can control ... little things, trying to beat the game rather than beating the opponent,” Miller said. “We have high-achieving guys (academically) ... continuing to try to find those high-achieving guys both off the floor and on the floor has made a significant impact and a huge difference for us when it comes to wins and losses.
“Everybody is facing something, even teams who have 6-7 seniors back. We are just trying to stay geared into what we can focus on; obviously, we are trying to speed things up, the process up a little bit in terms of maturity and chemistry.
“This is a different situation for all of us, but it doesn't matter,” Miller said. “We still have to go out there and win.”
Senior Erik Bowen returns for the Lancers (15-20, 6-12 Crossroads League) after averaging team bests 15.6 points and 9.2 rebounds per game last year.
Also coming back include Logan Godfrey (12.7 points), Stephen Halstead (10.5 points), Jaret Sons (8.7 points), Braxton Linville (8 points) and Charlie Warner (7 points).
The Foresters return nine players from last year's 16-15 team that finished seventh in the Crossroads League at 7-11. Huntington, though, is looking to replace 50 percent of its scoring, 54 percent of its rebounds and 30 percent of its assists.
Senior guard Mike Bush comes back after averaging 15.7 points and 3.9 assists per game. Also returning are junior forward Tyler Arens (14.8 points), sophomore Konner Platt (11.1 points), junior Mason Coverstone (8.7 points), senior Trevor Lockwood, senior Devon Merder and senior Kyle Platt.
The Spartans finished 10-17 last season but have the makings of a turnaround in 2017-18 with five of their top eight scorers returning. Manchester was 7-11 in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
Leading the way is junior Adrian Johnson, who averaged 16.2 points and 3.6 rebounds a year ago. Also back are senior Kenny Doss (6.5 points), senior Enis Becirevic (3.8) and senior Brody Kirby (2.2).