Coach: Ron Cottrell (361-168 at Houston Baptist, 361-168 overall)
Houston Baptist was a NCAA Division I team during the 1988-1989 season, but then dropped their basketball program. Coach Ron Cottrell was hired to bring the program back two years later where they dominated the NAIA. Now the program is making the transition back to Division I and Coach Cottrell certainly knows how to win some games.
Key Losses for the Huskies: G Sean Morris, G Andrew Puzyk, G Baron Sauls, F Gordon Watt, F Emanuel Willis, G Justin Wilson
Shawn Echols, Michael Moss and Wendell Preadom are the more experienced newcomers who will likely play a bigger role on the perimeter. Echols spent two years at Skyline College where he proved to be a decent scorer and a great distributor. Moss, who was on the sidelines last season as a transfer from St. Edwards University, is not a great scorer, but he is a decent defender. The most recognizable name to hardcore college basketball fans is Wendell Preadom. The transfer from Wichita State spent three years with the Shockers, but never put up big numbers.
Andrew Gonzalez may be the most important newcomer in the frontcourt. The 6-6 transfer from San Jacinto College is a quality scorer and a decent rebounder from the wing. His size will be a great asset for the Huskies when the team has to play big. Damian Lewis gives the team a big body under the basket. At 6-11 and 270 pounds, the transfer from Western Texas College can certainly clog the paint. He averaged a mere 1.7 points and 2.6 rebounds as a sophomore, but Houston Baptist can use all the experienced big bodies they can find. Remy Boswell is not nearly as big as Lewis, but he is another junior college transfer who will be asked to be a leader due to lack of experience on this team.
Who’s In for Houston Baptist:
With only two players returning, every newcomer is a key newcomer. Of the 12 fresh faces who will be suiting up for Houston Baptist, only five of them are freshmen. That means this will not be a vastly inexperienced team, but it will be a team that has a lot of work to do to as far as chemistry is concerned. All of the five incoming freshmen are guards and Blake Bailey, Ben Daniels, Miles Dixon, Aaron Hendrix and Khris Roy will all be competing for playing time.
The good news is the Huskies have two forwards returning. Mario Flaherty started 20 games last year and averaged 6.3 points and 3.3 rebounds. He needs to be stronger on the glass this year to cover for all the other losses, but the 6-9 senior is certainly capable of seeing a drastic increase in production. The same can be said for Fred Hinnenkamp, the other returning letterman. Hinnenkamp, a 6-7 junior, could be looked upon as a leader even though he averaged less than ten minutes per game last season.
Final 2009-2010 Houston Baptist Projection:
Houston Baptist is a part of the newly formed Great West Conference which basically took seven independents and made scheduling a little easier. The Great West will play a conference tournament at the end of the year and the winner of that tournament will get an automatic bid into the new CIT postseason tournament. It may not sound like much, but it does give Houston Baptist something to play for all season long.