The Wright State women’s basketball team won 21 games last season, the most in its 25-year Division I history. And the Raiders did it as the second youngest team in the nation.
“This year we’ll have a little more experience because just about everybody will be back,” said third-year coach Mike Bradbury. “We’re excited. We should be better than we were last season.”
Among the returners is sophomore Kim Demmings, a guard who will be the cornerstone of the 2012–13 team. Demmings averaged 18.4 points a game last season and was a Second Team Freshman All-American.
“Outside of Amber Harris, who I had at Xavier, she’s probably the best player that I’ve ever coached,” Bradbury said of Demmings. “Her athleticism and quickness is off the charts. She’s really gotten to where she can shoot the 3. And she plays extremely hard.”
Also returning is Mylan Woods, who transferred from Northwestern University and played only one game before an injury sidelined her for the season.
“She’ll be a big part of what we’re doing,” Bradbury added.
Other returners include post player Tayler Stanton, a transfer from Kent State; Courtney Boyd, who started every game last season; and Kayla Lamotte.
The Raiders also have a promising group of incoming players. They include Jasmine Johnson of Columbus; and two junior college players—Ja’Monica Orton and Brianna Innocent. All three are expected to make an immediate impact.
“We should be able to continue to play faster than we have,” said Bradbury, who expects the Raiders to compete with Green Bay and Detroit for the Horizon League crown. “As we’ve changed our personnel, we’ve tried to get more athletic.”
On the men’s team there will be speed in the form of point guard Reggie Arceneaux, inside scoring threats from several returning big men, and an experienced crop of new recruits.
These are the weapons in the arsenal of men’s basketball coach Billy Donlon, who expects the Raiders to be stronger this season when it comes to scoring in the paint.
“We’ll have to throw the ball inside more.
We have to rebound the basketball,” Donlon said. “It won’t be as perimeter oriented.”
The big men near the basket include A. J. Pacher, 6-foot-10, 245 pounds; Tavares Sledge, 6-9, 225 pounds; and Cole Darling, 6-8, 200 pounds.
“Cole can really do everything well. There were nights when he was the best player on the floor,” Donlon said.
But he said Darling needs to become more consistent, gain some size, and learn to get his jump shot off quicker, like Pacher.
“I would love to play A. J. 25-plus minutes a game because his points per minute are almost astronomical,” Donlon said. “But he’s got to learn to defend without fouling. People attack him because they know he fouls.”
Scoring will also fall to Arceneaux, the 5-9 guard who averaged nearly nine points a game as a freshman and scored 19 against Idaho.
“He can make all kinds of shots,” Donlon said. “He can make a 3; he can make a shot in the mid-range; his speed can get him all the way to the rim and make a layup. We saw flashes of that last year.”
Donlon said Arceneaux also has great speed, but needs to learn to change speeds, use intermediate gears.
“Our job as coaching staff is to get him to use his speed better, as more of a weapon,” Donlon said.
The incoming players bring an unusual amount of experience to the team.
Point guard Antonio “Bobo” Drummond came to Wright State from Lumiere Academy in LaPorte, Indiana, where he averaged 13.8 points and 6.2 assists a game.
“He played against some of the best guards in the country,” Donlon said.
Guard Joe Bramanti arrived from
Brewster Academy in Wolfeboro, New Hampshire, where he averaged 22.3 points and six rebounds.
“He really brings great toughness, a good IQ for the game,” Donlon said.
Bramanti and Drummond join a freshman class that includes J. T. Yoho, a 6-6 guard/forward, and Jacoby Roddy, a 6-5 forward.
Donlon said Yoho can make shots and Roddy is a “pure athlete” who can defend.
“All those guys will have a chance to play, which should excite them and make practices competitive,” Donlon said.
As for Horizon League play, Valparaiso, Detroit, and Green Bay are all expected to have strong teams this season.
“The schedule is a good one,” Donlon said. “The league is always very, very good.”