After two months of play the UVU men’s basketball team sits at 8-8 with a month remaining in the teams 2008-09 campaign. Heading into the season the Wolverines appeared to be a possible 20-win team. As that goal appears bleak the question remains as to whether the team has underachieved so far.
At the heart of the team is senior Ryan Toolson, whose 23.4 average leads the team and ranks him among the top scorers in the nation. His average has him just slightly below last season. This year however, with the loss of several key seniors from a year ago, the Wolverines need his scoring more than ever. On occasion the Wolverines have turned in collective scoring nights where the ball is spread around and players are making their shots. Unfortunately there are also times when UVU struggles to score, and if Toolson is having an off night shooting it can be detrimental to Utah Valley.
The loss of tough-guy Jordan Brady to graduation has hurt the Wolverines’ low-post presence. Brady, although undersized for a big man, made up for it with his strength and tenacity. This season UVU is again undersized under the basket and with less experience. Senior Brett Ravenberg leads the low-post charge, but at six-foot-eight finds himself towered over by opposing big men. Behind Ravenberg the Wolverines have sophomore Justin Baker and two freshmen in Solomon Jensen and Rory Fannon.
However, UVU has a February full of home games and should rebound nicely to finish the season. Jordan Swarbrick has stepped up and, as a junior, will be around next year to anchor the Wolverines. The loss of several seniors will hurt Utah Valley next year when Toolson, Josh Olsen and Ravenberg, all team captains, will have to be replaced.