Whitworth returns four starters and much of their reserve players and have their eyes set on a 10th consecutive NCAA D3 Basketball tournament appearance.
Head Coach: Matt Logie
2014-15 Finish: 25-4 (Lost to Emory in the second round of the NCAA DIII Basketball Tournament)
2014-15 Conference Finish: 15-1 ( First Place in the Northwest Conference)
Projected Conference Finish: 1st
(Information to be added as it becomes available)
*G – Kenny Love – Jr. (Third Team NABC All-American)
*F – Christian Jurlina – Jr. (Top returning scorer 14.8 ppg, Third Team All-NWC)
*G – George Valle – Sr.
*G – Matt Staudacher – Sr.
From The Source (Whitworth Athletics)
Which players will log significant minutes for your team this year? If you already know the starting five, can you share that with us?
Whitworth returns four starters from last season when the Pirates finished 25-4 and made their ninth straight trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament.
Leading the way is 2014-15 Northwest Conference Player of the Year Kenny Love (Jr., G), who was also a Third Team All-American (NABC). Christian Jurlina (Jr., F) is the leading returning scorer (14.8 ppg) and was a First Team All-NWC selection last season. George Valle (Sr., F) has started every game that Whitworth has played since he arrived on campus as a freshman in 2012-13. He averaged 11.8 ppg last year. Matt Staudacher (Sr., G) returns for his second season as the starting point guard. Other key returnees include Derek Isaak (Jr., G), Forrest Baker (Jr., F) and Drew Sears (Jr., P).
A key addition will be transfer guard AJ Grant, who only has one semester of eligibility remaining and will join practice and be eligible to play after the conclusion of the Fall semester. AJ was previously a two-time First Team All-NWC honoree at George Fox.
What will be the biggest difference between this year’s team and last year’s team?
Whitworth will have to replace both post players from last season. Taylor Farnsworth (starter) and Adam Wilks (backup) were a terrific 1-2 punch in the post for the Pirates. Who plays in that position, and how head coach Matt Logie adjusts his scheme to the available players are all still to be decided.
Which newcomer do you think will make the biggest impact this season?
In addition to the previously mentioned AJ Grant, Whitworth had a terrific recruiting class and all three freshman could make an impact. Ben Bishop is a 6-8 post player who is more physically mature and accomplished than most incoming freshmen. CJ Johnson is a 6-4 wing player who led Clarkston (Wash.) HS to a state championship in 2015. Kyle Roach is a shooting guard with good size (6-4) who averaged 36.8 points and 9.8 rebounds per game at Marin (Calif.) Academy last season.
Which player(s) do you expect to lead the team this season? Please name the captains if that has already been established.
Kenny Love is the best player in the Northwest Conference and the team looks to his leadership on the floor. George Valle is the mental and emotional leader of the squad.
Is there one game you have circled on your calendar as your “game of the year”?
The two games in Las Vegas (Dec. 29-30) against traditional DIII powers Calvin (Mich.) and Mary Hardin-Baylor (Texas) will give the Pirates a good measuring stick.
The Whitworth – Whitman rivalry has turned into perhaps the best Division III rivalry on the West Coast: January 5th at Whitworth; Feb. 2 at Whitman.
Is there anything else you want fans to know about your team?
Head coach Matt Logie has had a remarkable run in his first four seasons leading the Pirates. He is the first coach in NCAA Division III history to reach the 100-career win plateau in only four seasons.