Lutes picked to finish fifth in preseason coaches pollby Sam Horn, Sports Writer
Head coach Steve Dickerson and the Lutes open their seaon tonight and plan to suprise Northwest Conference coaches.
The Lutes have been busy regrouping to make up for the graduation of two seniors last spring.
The Lutes graduated career assists leader James Conti and guard Marcus Reaves but managed to recruit four first years to add depth to the basketball team.
The first years could gain significant playing time if they work hard in practice, sophomore forward Cole Parker said.
Guards Shane Jacob and Erik Swartout, wing Seth Anderson and post Bryce Miller round out the incoming first-year class.
The Lutes finished in a tie for fourth place last year in the Northwest Conference. This year, conference coaches project a fifth place finish for the Lutes in the NWC.
But a top-tier NWC finish could be in the works.
The Lutes are returning with senior wing Cameron Schilling, who earned an All-Northwest Conference honorable mention last year.
“We absolutely plan on finishing better than fifth, but the poll pick is the last thing on our mind,” Parker said.
“We’re going to go out and take each game one at a time.”
The Lutes played their first game Nov. 2 against NCAA Div. II Seattle Pacific University (SPU).
SPU proved too much for the Lutes to handle, however, as the Falcons triumphed with a score of 72-48.
Senior guard Drew Earnest led the Lutes in scoring, garnering 15 points. Earnest achieved All-Conference honors during the 2010-11 season. Schilling tallied 10 points.
The Lutes’ bench managed to outscore SPU 13-10.
SPU showed its athleticism, outrebounding PLU 42-24. Because this was an exhibition game, the result did not count towards either team’s record.
“I think if we work hard every day and get better every day and focus on what we can control,” sophomore wing Andrew Alness said, then “we have a very good chance of being one of the top teams in our league.”
Sixth-year head coach Steve Dickerson leads the Lutes.
Dickerson comes from a background rich with basketball success. Dickerson was a high school coach in the Columbus, Ohio area for 33 years.
He managed to garner more than 200 wins, including a state final appearance, a regional title, two district championships, nine sectional titles, four league championships and several regional and district awards.
Dickerson was named coach of the year four times.
Dickerson seemed like ‘the-man-with-the-plan’ when he was hired in 2006, as his resume was adorned with a multitude of successes in the high school realm.
Under Coach Dickerson and his staff, the Lutes have not finished below seventh in the conference and have finished in fourth place or tied for fourth during the past two seasons.
“I think our team is going to surprise a lot of people in our league this year,” sophomore point guard Terrell Williams said.
Williams said the team has potential because of their hard work and “the talent we have added and brought back from last year’s team. The year is early but it looks like it could be a great year for Lute basketball.”
The Lutes play in the Doug McArthur Classic basketball tournament today and tomorrow. The University of Puget Sound will host the tournament.
Texas-Dallas will be the Lutes’ first opponent today, followed by New Hope Christian tomorrow.