Men's 2012 Hoops Preview
Dunks, depth and defense describe new-look Lions
Season is one-third done; heart of schedule to come
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The game is simple to understand. Put the ball in the basket. Then prevent the opposing team from doing likewise.
Invented by Dr. James Naismith in 1891 as a new winter sport to play during the cold season, the game has had few rule changes but remains filled with a myriad of styles and strategies.
Naismith actually had peach-baskets that players tried to fill with their shots.
He was once asked why he placed the baskets 10-feet above the ground. His reply seems humorous today. Naismith explained the height would prevent players jumping and stuffing the ball in the basket.
He would’ve loved Dallas’ 5-foot-7 Spud Webb, who won the NBA’s dunk contest in the 1980’s. Another dynamic that fans love to see is three-point baskets, the sport’s version of the long-ball or the bomb.
Thanks to the fresh approach of new men’s basketball head coach Donnie Bostwick, Southwestern Assemblies of God University is doing something more rewarding than high flying jams or launching scores of trifectas. The Lions are winning.
At 10-2 they are off to their best start since joining the rigorously competitive National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA – Division I). Attendance at home games has soared!
Fans have been as pleased as a dog with five tails.
The 'New Look' Lions
Bostwick’s brand of roundball has infused an already potent offense that averaged 80.3 points per game last winter. This year’s team can 'flat-out shoot' from beyond the three-point line.
The most obvious difference from a year ago is on defense. The squad has reduced points allowed from 86.6, which ranked #118 of the NAIA’s 120 Division I schools, to 69.6 ppg. That figure is #46 nationally and is #1 in the 13-team Red River Athletic Conference.
As they enter the second third of their 30-game schedule, they are now facing twenty of their 24-game navigation through the minefield that is the RRAC. The team’s strengths stand out like a lighthouse beacon.
The Lions’ overall team speed has sharply improved. Added to that as the obvious kingpin is the squad’s upgrade in outside shooting and rebounding.
The latter is perhaps their most surprising forte. Not tall, how do they hold their own on the boards? "We hustle," according to Bostwick. “The guys go after the ball and chase down long rebounds.” They are especially effective in claiming missed shots on the offensive glass.
Observers of the team’s transformation describe the Lions offensive attack as up-tempo and very effective by spreading out opponents’ defense by making 10+ three-pointers per game. When the opposition extends their defense out to the perimeter, SAGU has been successful at attacking the inside.
Coach Bostwick, who went 120-20 in four years at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, has an added arsenal this season. The Lions depth allows him to play 10 to 12 players ten to 25 minutes apiece. Think of an archer with his quiver full of arrows.
SAGU starts sophomore Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Oklahoma Wesleyan, Trinity Christian – Cedar Hill) at point guard, flanked by senior Ronald Horne (Waco, Tx / Univ of N.Texas, Waco HS) and sophomore Craig Grigsby (Houston, Tx / Glenda Dawson HS) on the wing.
The frontcourt is manned by Nathaniel Duce Ward (Waco, Tx / Univ of N.Texas, Connally HS) and Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS). Both jump out of the gym!
A superior bench allocates such talent as the recently activated Jared Gibson (Dallas, Tx Oral Roberts Univ, Plano West HS), a sniper with longest range in the RRAC. He joins fellow guards Tyler Guidry (Houston, Tx / Westbury Christian) and James Ford (Victoria, Tx / Faith Academy).
Then there are Christian Wood-Dvorak (Halletsville, Tx / Halletsville HS), Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS) and Caleb Feemster (Addison, Tx / Trinity Christian), who all play a hybrid forward/guard role.
Don’t call the flux of weapons entering the fray a rotation or platoon system. The enhanced line-up is more aptly termed “very good depth,” according to the new coach.
While the Lions have not selected team captains this season, leadership is offered by several players, mostly from seniors Horne and Gibson and Ward, a junior. Horne was the NAIA's #1 scorer while Ward led the nation in rebounding. Gibson finished second in the NAIA in three-pointers.
One thing synonymous with this year’s edition of Lions is that most all of them can knock down the trey. SAGU is second in the nation in making triples. The only team in the NAIA who drains more 3-balls, Our Lady of the Lake University, administered SAGU’s its first loss three weeks ago.
Growth areas the team is working to develop include their free throw shooting, which has been one of the nation’s best in previous seasons. Coach Bostwick looks to sharpen the team’s halfcourt execution as they head down the stretch towards the RRAC post-season tournament.
For More on the Lions
Fans can access complete team and player statistics for all games by visiting www.redriverconference.com
Once there, click on the M-Basketball in the left column to see the current standings. Then, click on SW Assemblies of God for access to the team’s schedule and scores, roster as well as a link to view detailed stats.
The team’s next three games in January feature two home tilts, all of which will be broadcast in HD by SAGU SPORTS Live. To watch the games over the internet on computers or iphones, go to the SAGU website and click on the Watch SAGUtv button on the home page.