Wabash College MBB Preview

Little Giants begin season with plenty of expectations


Wabash Men’s basketball has made the NCAA Division III Tournament each of the last two seasons. A new season has dawned on the reigning two-time North Coast Athletic Conference champions and Wabash has caught the eyes of much of the D3 basketball community. The Little Giants open their 2023-24 season tonight when they travel to take on Mount St. Joseph. Wabash was the pre-season pick to win the NCAC and they come into the season ranked 16th in the country.

Wabash returns all five starters and the top-11 scorers from last year’s. Senior Ahmoni Jones averaged 16.2 points and 6.3 rebounds and was named the 2023 conference tournament MVP. Jones also earned First Team All-NCAC honors, as did junior guard Vinny Buccilla, who had a 14 points-per-game average. Buccilla shot 52.1 percent from the field last season with a 41.8-percent shooting percentage from three-point range. Seniors Edreece Redmond and Sam Comer both averaged 10.7 points a game. Redmond led the team with 78 assists, while Comer’s 5.9 rebounds-per-game average was second among Little Giant players.

Avery Beaver came off the bench in all but three games to average 6.8 points a contest. Champ McCorkle split time as a starter and key reserve and averaged 6.2 points and 3.3 rebounds a game. Gavin Schippert started 17 games as a freshman last season, scoring 5.3 points while averaging 3.4 boards a contest. Josh Whack added 4.9 points a game as a freshman guard coming off the bench. Randy Kelley chipped in 4.6 points a contest in 11 appearances last season. Styles McCorkle played in all but two games to score 3.7 points a contest.

Kyle Brumett enters his ninth season at the helm of the Little Giants and notes how his team is excited to get things underway.

“The returning talent that we have this season is one of the most exciting things,” Brumett said. “We have so much experience of guys who have played in final fours and big games in their careers. There’s a lot of excitement when you’ve been there and had the success that these guys have had. Along with that comes the understanding of what you’ve done in the past doesn’t matter now. It doesn’t mean anything if you’re not ready to put that experience to the test.”

While the pre-season rankings for the Little Giants are nice, Brumett also talks about how his group has to stay focused for the long haul.

“It is nice for the players to earn the recognition and more importantly it’s fun that D3 has some big time buzz around basketball,” he said. “It’s much better to be part of that buzz than not. There’s been a lot of hard work of returning the great tradition that is Wabash College Basketball. It started with Coach (Mac) Petty and it’s our job to continue that. It’s exciting to know that we have people’s attention because these guys have put in the time and effort to earn it.”

Along with returning everyone from last year’s team there’s also some new faces to the Little Giants this season. Wabash has eight freshman on the team to go along with a handful of players from the transfer portal. Most notably 7’2 junior transfer from Northern Kentucky Noah Hupmann has generated some buzz around the team. Hupmann was originally a Wabash recruit out of a high school but will now look to make an impact with Wabash in his first season with the team.

In total Wabash will have 22 players on its roster for the upcoming season. That will allow Brumett and the team to have some much-needed depth. While having the depth is nice, figuring out the right rotations is the challenge Brumett says.

“It’s the most difficult thing about the beginning of the season” he said. “Returning guys want their roles to grow, guys who have put the hard work in want to see the results of that, new guys are always wanting to see the floor, and then freshman have to make the adjustment and know this isn’t high school anymore. Everyone is competing with experienced and good players on top of that. Having that depth is a good thing and we’ll most certainly need it. We’re all going to have to have some patience because the games often reveal how we’re going to fit together.”

The Little Giants game against Mount St. Joseph tips off at 7 p.m. and can be watched through the Wabash College Athletics website. Wabash will have its home opener next Tuesday when they welcome Anderson University. Admission to all Little Giant home games at Chadwick Court are free of charge so be sure to come out to a home game this season to watch and support what should be another great season of Wabash College basketball.