Panthers Picked For Sixth In Horizon League
Oct. 9, 2012
CHICAGO - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's basketball team has been picked to finish sixth in the Horizon League this season.
The results of the preseason poll were announced today as the league's media day got underway in Chicago.
Valparaiso, the defending league regular season champion, was picked to win the crown.
UWM returns three starters and eight letterwinners from a team that posted a 20-14 mark a season ago. A talented group of newcomers also joins the mix as Milwaukee looks to make it back to the postseason for the third time in the last four years.
"What's exciting about this season is that we have a lot of new faces but we do also have a nice core of returning guys," Milwaukee head coach Rob Jeter said. "We have the talent to go out and compete in this league. It's going to be fun to bring that whole group together and see how we develop and see how we all come together and mesh."
Senior James Haarsma tops the list of returnees after averaging 10.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game a season ago. He earned Horizon League Player of the Week honors early in the season and just missed out on league all-newcomer recognition.
Starters Paris Gulley and Kyle Kelm also return after taking on key roles a season ago. Gulley started 29 games and averaged better than eight points per contest while Kelm started 20 games and averaged almost eight points per contest.
Milwaukee will also boast veteran depth off the bench, as well. Ryan Haggerty has played in 80 games in his first three seasons at UWM while Christian Wolf has three years of Division I experience under his belt. Plus, senior Demetrius Harris played in 19 games a season ago after transferring from Mineral Area CC and is now expected to play a more expanded role.
UWM is looking for a new point guard in 2012-13 with the departure of all-league performer Kaylon Williams. But confidence is running high that junior college transfer Jordan Aaron can fill the void. Aaron played the past two seasons at Southeastern Community College and was highly sought-after before coming to Milwaukee. J.J. Panoske will also hit the active roster this season after redshirting a year ago. Panoske was an all-state performer at Brodhead High School and is expected to be a big contributor both inside and out in 2012-13.
"There are going to be opportunities for guys to earn minutes," Jeter said. "Our first challenge is going to be getting everyone together understanding their roles and understanding their responsibilities, and then getting everyone to buy into those things."