The UVU men’s basketball team is going through an identity crisis of sorts. The heart and soul of UVU basketball has been ripped out with the recent graduation of all-time leading scorer Ryan Toolson and Mr. Reliable Josh Olsen. However, the show must go on.
Difficult, lonely, pointless–and without Josh Olsen—defenseless, are the words UVU coach Dick Hunsaker used to describe his team moving forward without its stars from a year ago. While Hunsakers comment was somewhat tongue-and-cheek, the Wolverines remain largely unknown.
“With such a huge cavity that was lost,” Hunsaker said, referring to his senior leadership from last season. “I don’t think that any one particular player really has the credentials to assume such a role.”
That being said, this season’s Wolverines will go as far as teamwork and determination will take them. The players returning have worked hard and improved in areas that showed deficiency a year ago.
Justin Baker returns as the teams leading post player, and with the loss of senior Brett Ravenberg, will assume the role of low post scorer and low block defensive threat. Swingman Tyray Petty showed flashes of his athleticism and talent as a role player a season ago and looks to take on more responsibility on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor.
The return of point guard Kevin Woods, who missed all of last season with a torn ACL, will do his best to fill in for the loss of Olsen.
Woods saw limited action as a freshman but hopes to embrace a more significant role this season. Another swingman that will be relied on as a scorer is Jordan Swarbrick. The senior from El Dorado, California will most likely see increased minutes and therefore have more opportunity to contribute.
“We have to have those guys that were role players a year ago,” Hunsaker added. “They’re going to have to take a lot more responsibility.”