Updated Wed, Oct 30, 2013 10:33 am
With the regular season rapidly approaching, Ohio will host Division II opponent Ashland for an exhibition game on Saturday.
The game will be the Ohio Bobcat fans’ first look at the new faces on the team. Ohio has five freshmen, a junior college transfer and two players that sat out last year due to NCAA transfer rules on this year’s roster. Ohio head coach Jim Christian is also eager to see how his new players perform.
“We want to see a lot of the young guys play,” Christian explained. No lineup is currently set in stone, as Christian explained that he will try multiple combinations of players to assess his team.
Of all the newcomers, the most intriguing one may be redshirt junior point guard Javarez “Bean” Willis, who transferred to Ohio from Texas Tech last year. Willis is currently competing with fellow junior point guard Stevie Taylor for the starting position. It may be difficult to completely evaluate Willis and Taylor against a Division II opponent, but it does allow the coaches and fans a chance to see the two go up against someone in a different colored jersey.
Last season, the Eagles finished fifth in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference with a record of 13-12 (11-11 GLIAC). Ashland finished last season on a high note by winning eight of its final 10 games. The team lost four seniors from last year, including two of its top three scorers in Ronnie Steward and Evan Yates. Steward averaged 8.7 points per game last season, and Yates, a first team All-GLIAC selection, was the leader of last year’s Ashland squad. The 6-foot-6 forward averaged 16.8 points and 9.0 rebounds per game.
However, the Eagles do return their second-leading scorer in senior forward Will Evans. Evans shot 40.1 percent from the field and 68.1 percent from the free throw line on his way to averaging 9.7 points per game for Ashland. In addition to Evans, the Eagles bring back redshirt sophomore DaWuan Thomas, who was a GLIAC All-Defensive Team selection last year.
Ohio and Ashland will square off in the Convocation Center at 2 p.m. The Bobcats will look to head into the regular season on the right foot, so it is important that they perform well against Ashland on Saturday.