MACOMB, Ill. - Fourth-year head coach Jim Molinari and the Western Illinois men’s basketball team's 2011-12 season is right around the corner, and after weeks of preseason preparation, the Leathernecks are ready to compete against someone other than themselves.
Western Illinois took part in its
first official practice of the 2011-12 season October 14
inside of Western Hall and have continued to prepare since. The Leathernecks begin their 2011-12 campaign with an
exhibition game against Illinois College at home next Wednesday, November 9th. Then open regular-season action next Saturday (Nov. 12) at Dayton.
The Leathernecks return five players from last year's team, four of which suffered season-ending injuries (Ceola Clark III, Tommie Tyler, David Gebru, and Billy Molinari), and welcome six newcomers to the Leatherneck family.
Coach Molinari and his staff know the importance of putting in the time and effort in order to reach a team's full potential.
"We are very excited for the first day of practice," said coach Molinari. "It will be great to have Ceola, Billy, Tommie and David back from last season's injuries. Having a healthy roster heading into the season will enable us to move forward with our program."
Senior guard Ceola Clark III returns as the team's starting point guard after playing in only six games a year ago. Along with Clark, Western will welcome back senior guard Tommie Tyler, junior forward Jack Houpt, sophomore center David Gebru and sophomore guard Billy Molinari. Clark III, Molinari, Tyler and Gebru played a combined 32 games last season due to injuries.
This offseason coach Molinari and the Leathernecks were able to land a pair of JUCO All-Americans in Don McAvoy III and Terell Parks, and signed four freshmen in Obi Emegano, Jeremy McDonald, Jalen Packer and Remy Roberts-Burnett.
Coach Molinari has been pleased with the team's additions and their adjustment to Western.
year's newcomers have done a great job this summer and fall adjusting to the
Western way. They have represented our program with the integrity that is
expected within the men's basketball program, and the rest Western Illinois
The Western Illinois 2011-12 men's basketball schedule features 14 games at home in the friendly confines of Western Hall, while the Leathernecks hit the road for 15 contests, good for 29 regular season basketball games.
Head coach Jim Molinari is excited about his roster and Western's challenging 2011-12 schedule.
"With five players back from last year's team, four of which suffered season-ending injuries, and the addition of six newcomers, we are excited to face the challenge of the 2011-2012 schedule."
The Fighting Leathernecks finished their 2010-11 campaign, a season dismantled by injuries, 7-23 overall and 2-16 in the Summit League. Western returns five players, including three starters to the 2011-12 roster, while welcoming six newcomers.
Western will kickoff the season with an exhibition game against Illinois College at home on November 9th, before opening the regular season with a two-game road trip at Atlantic 10 Conference member Dayton (Nov. 12) and 2011 NCAA Tournament participant Michigan (Nov. 17).
The Leathernecks then play host to Greenville College for the 2011-12 home opener on November 22nd, before traveling to North Dakota (Nov. 26) to round-out the month of November.
Five of Western's seven games in the month of December will be played at home. A three-game homestand kicks the month off when North Dakota State visits Macomb to open Summit League action on the December 1st, followed by South Dakota State and Eastern Illinois visiting Western Hall. The Leathernecks will close out the month with a trip to Illinois-Chicago (Dec. 19), returning home to host North Dakota (Dec. 22) and Eureka College (Dec. 27) for a couple of nonconference tilts, then back on the road to face IUPUI (Dec. 30).
The New Year will begin at Western Hall as the Leathernecks play host to South Dakota on January 3rd. Western then travels to Oakland (Jan. 5) and IPFW (Jan. 7) before returning home for a pair of Summit league tilts against Oral Roberts (Jan. 12) and Southern Utah (Jan. 14).
The Leathernecks continue action when they face UNKC (Jan. 19), South Dakota (Jan. 21) and Omaha-Nebraska (Jan. 24) during a three-game road trip, finishing the month at Western Hall to take on IUPUI (Jan. 28).
The final month of regular season action begins with a pair of home contests versus IPFW (Feb. 2) and Oakland (Feb. 4), followed by road tilts at Southern Utah (Feb. 9) and Oral Roberts (Feb. 11). On February 15th the Leathernecks will face UMKC at home before taking part in a Bracket Buster game on the road (Feb. 18). The Bracket Buster opponent will be announced on January 30th.
Western will play at SDSU (Feb. 23) and NDSU (Feb. 25) before returning home for the regular season finale against Nebraska-Omaha on February 29th.
Postseason action will take place in Sioux Falls, S.D. where the top eight teams from the Summit League will meet to compete in the 2012 Summit League Tournament in Sioux Falls Arena.
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