Feature Story

Little Giants look back on another successful season


A third straight trip to the NCAA Division III Men’s Basketball Tournament, a third straight 20-win season, and another regular season North Coast Athletic Conference title. Wabash Men’s basketball continued its winning tradition in 2023-24 and while this team got it done a little differently than in previous seasons, all that matters was the W in the win column.

The Little Giants season did come to an end last Friday in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament with a 79-74 overtime loss to 25th ranked Coe College as the season ended with an overall record of 20-9 and 13-3 in NCAC play. Inside one the best environments in D3, at Chadwick Court, Wabash was 11-2 on their home floor.

Five seniors say goodbye to the Little Giant program as Edreece Redmond, Sam Comer, Ahmoni Jones, Avery Beaver, and Champ McCorkle all have dawned a Wabash uniform for the final time. Jones averaged 14.5 points, 6.3 rebounds while shooting 42.5% from the field and 37.8% from three. Jones ends his career eighth in Little Giant history with 1,525 career points, his 182 career made threes rank fourth while his 684 rebounds are fifth in Wabash history. There was no hotter player for the Little Giants down the stretch than Beaver. In NCAC games the sharpshooting senior connected on 49.3% of his threes and ended the season shooting 46.8% from the field, 46% from three and 93% from the free-throw line. Comer averaged 10.4 a game for Wabash while grabbing six rebounds a contest and led the Little Giants with 70 assists. The former Danville Warrior shot 46.5% from the field and 43.5% from three. Redmond missed a good portion of the season with a foot injury, but the senior still found ways to make an impact. Redmond was a defensive specialist for the Little Giants routinely guarding the opposing teams best perimeter player.

“These five seniors have been at the forefront of changing our program,” Wabash coach Kyle Brumett said of the senior group. “The things that we were able to accomplish, were the exact things we told those guys when we recruited them that they could help us do. Winning the regular season conference title, winning the NCAC tournament and going to the D3 tournament, none of that had happened before those guys got here. This class is a group that’s grown and changed every single year they’ve been here. They’ve gone through a lot of adversity that a lot of young men need to go through to be better people. Life isn’t going to be easy and they’ve experienced that and have all come out the other side. Wabash College Men’s basketball has reaped the rewards of this senior group.”

Some of that adversity that Brumett mentioned came during this season specifically. On Dec. 9 the Little Giants saw the beginning of the darkest part of their season where they would lose six out seven games and five straight overall. Wabash sat at 8-8 on the season and 4-3 in NCAC play. After that, they wouldn’t lose again until last Friday as they rattled off 12 straight wins on their way to their third straight NCAC Tournament title. Wabash stuck to their motto of  ‘Wabash Always Fights’ and put their noses back to the grindstone and the rest is history.

“Sam (Comer) has been very clear to me about how difficult that stretch was for us,” Brumett said. “It was harder mentally on them than anything else I think. I truly believe this though more than any team that I’ve ever coached that they were truly built through the year and have the necessary toughness to succeed at the very end. For us to be 8-8 over half way through the season and for them to take the accountability and use it to better ourselves is truly something special with this group and something to be proud of.”

With all of their success over the last three seasons, winning is now the expectation for the Little Giant program. Three consecutive trips to the NCAA Tournament along with a Final Four appearance have made the D3 community take notice of what’s happening in Crawfordsville. With returning players like to-be senior Vinny Buccilla, Randy Kelly, Gavin Schippert and 7’2 big man Noah Hupmann and a plethora of talent on the Wabash bench, there’s more success waiting to happen for these Little Giants.

“There’s over 400 Division III Men’s basketball programs across the country and only 64 make the tournament and the last three year’s we’ve been in that position,” Brumett concluded. “The Coe loss did hurt and we shed some tears, but I told those seniors to be proud of what they accomplished. They’ve made it the expectation now that Wabash should be winning the conference. That’s our standard. So much of the work here in D3 happens when the coaches aren’t around and that’s been what this program has been built on. Our returning guys are going to have to work harder than they’ve ever worked before. Some of new guys this year didn’t quite know what they were getting into, but now they do and it’s up to the next group to continue the Wabash way.”