Wheeling, W.Va. – After the 2021-22 season, the Wheeling University men’s basketball team would see many of its top stars graduate. In their place, a new generation of Cardinals men’s basketball players seek to lead the team into the future. We’re just under a week away from the start of the season as the Cardinals head back to the Mountain East Conference (MEC) tournament.
Last season, the Cardinals had their best season under the direction of the head coach Chris Richardson, going 10-20 overall and 8-14 in MEC play. They got the No. 9 seed in the MEC tournament and would play higher seeds throughout their tournament. However, they handled every task given to them, battling it out until the final moments of the season. They started their tournament against No. 7 seed Glenville State, took an early lead and earned a 78-72 win to advance to the MEC quarterfinals. He set up a special playoff edition of “The Battle for Wheeling” with the Cardinals battling West Liberty. It again came down to the final seconds, but Wheeling couldn’t win as they fell 88-81. Jordan Reid and Jarett Haines each earned second-team All-MEC honors to close out the season and gave the Cardinals a taste of success.
While Haines and Reid are graduating, the Cardinals are bringing back a few veterans who were big contributors during the run. Cardinals, last season’s two big men, are back as seniors John Korte and Junior Andrew Taylor. Korte was Wheeling’s top rebounder a season ago, averaging 6.0 rebounds per game while leading the group with 168 defensive rebounds. He finished the season with a double-double and shot nearly 43% from the floor. Taylor was right behind Korte with a career-high 5.6 rebounds per game to go along with 7.6 points per game. native of the wheel Brent price also returns and appears to be a leader on the pitch. He averaged 8.6 points per game last season and was one of Wheeling’s best shooters at 44.9 percent from the floor.
However, the Cardinals will include 10 freshmen and a transfer student who will be looking to make an immediate impact on the team.
Marcus Johnson is the transfer, coming to Wheeling from Parkland College where he had an impressive freshman season. He averaged 8.2 points per game and 4.4 rebounds per game in his 29 appearances for Parkland. One of his best traits was his shooting ability, shooting over 50% from the ground and 37.7% from beyond the arc. Among the incoming freshman class is a big local rocket with players from the Shady side, The Linsly School and Wheeling Central Catholic on the roster. After leading their team to the 2022 OVAC 3A Championship, Raef Wykes and Caleb Murray are looking to keep that success going in Wheeling. Three-time All-OVAC player Ryan Reasbeck and 1st team All-OVAC player Korey Beckett join the roster in hopes of making an impact on the team this season.
In his third season at the helm of the Wheeling men’s basketball team, Chris Richardson understands the challenges of having a team of mostly freshmen. However, he has faith in the guys he brought in and works to make everything fit together.
“We wanted to get bigger, and we got bigger, we wanted to be more balanced, I think we did, the key for us is going to be how it all comes together,” Richardson said. “A lot of these guys are going to be playing college basketball for the first time and a lot of guys are going to be asked to do a little bit more than what they’re used to. I’m very excited about this team and it’s going to be on the how it all comes together to handle the ups and downs of a rigorous Mountain East Conference schedule.”
The Wheeling University men’s basketball team kicks off the 2022-23 season on Friday, November 11 by traveling to the West Liberty Crossover to take on California University of Pennsylvania at 7:30 p.m.