2007-08 Men's Basketball Preview
November 15, 2007
Dave Beyer, Sports Information Director
The Benedictine University men’s basketball team is hoping that a core group of four returning starters – along with some very talented newcomers – will help the Eagles compete for the 2007-08 Northern Athletics Conference title. Last season, a Benedictine roster with no seniors managed a sixth place finish and earned a berth in the NAC’s post-season tournament.
“We are very excited about the potential for the 2007-08 season,” said head coach Keith Bunkenburg, entering his 13th campaign at Benedictine’s helm. “We fielded a very young lineup last season and there were ‘growing pains’ we had to endure.
“The flip-side is that we were able give many of the players ample game experience, which I think should be a positive factor entering this season. We have four solid starters returning from last year’s lineup and each of them bring something special to the table.”
Heading the cast is the lone senior, Tim Swanson. Swanson, a 6’3” guard, was the team’s co-leader in scoring at 12.8 points per game and earned first team All-NAC accolades. Swanson also averaged 3.5 rebounds per game and shot 40.2 percent from beyond the three-point arc, while hitting 49.3 percent from the field, overall.
“Tim has been a solid player for all of his three
previous season,” said Bunkenburg. “He’s not flashy, but he just gives us everything he has whenever he sets foot on the court. That’s the type of
leadership you like to see from your upperclassmen, regardless of statistics.”
Junior Jared Bailey, a 6’1” guard, bounced back from injury as a sophomore, to guide the team from the point. Bailey averaged 12.7 points and 3.0 rebounds per game. He also averaged 4.1 assists and 1.4 steals per contest.
Travis Wilson also bounced back after missing all of
2005-06 to establish himself as one of the best “sixth men” in the conference. Wilson appeared in all 26 contests, averaging 9.4 p.p.g. and 4.5 r.p.g.
“The tandem of Jared and Travis in the backcourt gave us two skilled and exciting players at the point,” recounted Bunkenburg.
Two other true freshmen last season – Dan Klecan and Rob Bridgeman – also entrenched themselves in the starting rotation during their first collegiate seasons. Klecan shared scoring honors with Swanson, while also averaging 4.1 rebounds per game. Klecan was voted to the NAC’s All-Rookie team and named the circuits co-Rookie of the Year.
Bunkenburg also has a great deal of optimism for his
incoming crop of newcomers, one of the largest groups of recruits in the Eagles’ basketball history.
“(The newcomers) have been very impressive in the early going,” explained Bunkenburg. “While you never really know what to expect until you put players in a real game situation, I have seen these players buy into our work ethic and desire to generate an up-tempo style.
“The key will be melding them with our veterans.”
Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois, and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (630) 829-6300, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu.