It’s no secret that Utah Valley’s basketball season hinges on the performance of senior Ryan Toolson — he’ll see double teams every time he sets foot on the court. It’s also no secret that a solid second option has yet to be established. So, how will coach Dick Hunsaker and the Wolverines keep this season from becoming a Snow White parody?
“Ryan is a special player and it’s a real treat to have him at Utah Valley,” Hunsaker said. “Who will take the focus away from Ryan is certainly going be a collective effort.”
The loss of Jordan Brady will leave a hole bigger than just his ability to score the ball in the post last season. His physical presence and intensity will be sorely missed. However, a strong foundation of senior leadership sets the pace for the fresh faces that will be expected to contribute.
Senior co-captain Brett Ravenberg out of Katy, Texas will patrol the frontcourt. Ravenberg saw a significant amount of minutes last season and will have the task of providing a level of toughness and physical play found in Brady. The other co-captain, along with Toolson and Ravenberg, will be senior point guard Josh Olsen. Olsen, a starter last year, has been in the system long enough to be comfortable running the team and confident enough to step up and make shots as defenses sag, to help on Toolson. Olsen’s ability to make the open jumper should take some of the pressure off Toolson.
Another solid contributor will be junior guard Jordan Swarbrick. Swarbrick came off the bench last season and will likely be in the starting lineup. The team took a bit of a hit: sophomore guard Kevin Woods will be sidelined for the year with a knee injury and will use a redshirt year.
This year will be a defining one in UVU history; it will mark the final season of UVU as a provisional NCAA member. After five seasons of playing at the Division I level, the Wolverines have yet to have a losing season and look to continue their success.
“I have a great group to work with,” Hunsaker added. “I might have the best senior captains I’ve ever had. They set terrific examples of what we want to do.”