by Max Westerman | In a year of constant change, the Weber State Wildcats saw a substantial shift in the players on their roster. Only four of the members of the 2019-2020 squad have returned. Top scorers Jerrick Harding and Cody John have graduated and this team looks nothing like the team from last year that finished with a 12-20 record.
What has changed?
The Weber State Wildcats had four total upperclassmen last year which is far less than the league average of seven. This year they have recruited upperclassmen from the transfer portal. They now have eight upperclassmen which will provide leadership and needed maturity. The 2019-2020 season was marred by injuries and a changing lineup. Last year’s team played hard but struggled to form an identity. This year’s circumstances have brought this team closer together in a shorter period of time. Coach Randy Rahe has preached the mantra of playing for your team. He wants them to go out there and give their. They should not play for themselves but for their teammates.
Michal Kozak is one of the players who has witnessed the roster change and the difference between a normal Weber State season and one in the midst of a pandemic. According to Kozak, the incoming players who joined the team started with a greater knowledge of the game of basketball and this allowed Coach Rahe to introduce more complex schemes from the beginning. They are building upon a stronger foundation. This team comes in with far greater combined experience with a cumulative 254 more games played than last year’s squad. They also have 71 more starts.
Despite losing scoring production on paper, the incoming players have a combined 894 more cumulative career points scored than the team of last season.
Coach Rahe did exactly what he set out to do: immediately bring age and experience to his roster, while upgrading shooting and adding enough length and athleticism to be good defensively.
Adams State Game Recap:
Early on in this contest, it was clear that both teams were playing their first game of the year. 10 minutes in, the score was 16-13 and both teams had turned the ball over a handful of times. Isiah Brown stepped up as the steadying force for Weber State to right the ship against a beatable Division II opponent. Brown did exactly what you’re supposed to when your team can’t hit a shot, get to the free-throw line. After seeing some shots go through from the foul line, Brown sunk a three and by half time, the Wildcat’s lead had grown to 16.
The main trope Coach Randy Rahe has been instilling in his players this year has been to play for their teammates. This is a new group of guys and they still need to build chemistry on and off the court. When a team has a frustrating first ten minutes, they can either show that frustration with each other or they can all share the responsibility and build upon their mistakes. These early season games build the foundation for adversity later on in the season.
Adam’s State University once again shrunk the lead in the second half down to seven points after a series Weber State turnovers. This time it was Zahir Porter and Seikou Sisoho Jawara who came up big helping the Wildcat lead balloon to 18 points. The final score was 88-60 as Weber State knocked off Adams State university for their first win of the season. Isiah Brown lead WSU scoring with 26 points and Cody Carlson and Michal Kozak added 13 and 10 points respectively. Everyone except KJ Cunningham was able to snag at least one rebound as Weber State dominated in the paint.
Next up for the Wildcats is a home matchup vs Westminster tonight at 7 PM Mountain Standard Time. The Griffins were trashed by BYU in their first game and should provide a faint preview of the Wildcat’s true skill as they match up against the Cougars on December 23, 2020.
Featured image via Weber State Athletics.