Measuring the progress of the Linfield’s men’s basketball program under second-year coach Shanan Rosenberg is best done at the end of the 2014-15 season, rather than at the start.
Rebuilding the program back into a championship contender is going to take time and patience, though Rosenberg and assistant coach Mikey Polis have already begun laying the foundation for future success by attracting a number of talented recruits.
Through diligent work during the offseason, the coaching staff welcomed 11 freshmen into the program to blend with seven returners.
Guard Ryan Potter returns after averaging a team-best 10.5 points last season. Potter is joined in the backcourt by seasoned point guard Ryan Cali. Veteran guards Kevin Hurley, DeQuam Walls and Vinnie Toor also are back with needed collegiate experience.
Freshmen guards Matt Totaro, James Sandovol, Trevor Howard, Chase Walker and Aeastly Montilla offer tantalizing potential, though it is naturally going to take time for the newcomers to adjust to the college game.
Senior Mason Rodby teams up with two-time NWC all-star Andrew Batiuk on the front line. Batiuk sat out all of last season with lingering foot injuries and is working his way back into basketball shape.
Building around Rodby and Batiuk are a new crop of talented forwards and centers. Burly pivots Jordan Clark and Matt Wager are complemented by the addition of athletic forwards Austin Murray, Matt Woods, Jay Robinson and Connor Sende. With a variety of strengths, all are capable of contributing to the program’s rise.
Helping develop the individual games of each new post player is first-year assistant coach John Meitus, an all-star center at Lewis & Clark during Rosenberg’s assistant coaching tenure there.
After a challenging preseason schedule that includes tournament games in Portland and Santa Cruz, Calif., the Wildcats settle into their Northwest Conference slate in early January. Though the ‘Cats placed eighth last season in the final NWC standings, the goal this year is to be among the top-four regular-season finishers in order to secure a berth in the NWC postseason tournament, Feb. 26 and 28.