ANKENY, Iowa—The Faith Eagles men's basketball team will look a lot different than it did last year when it takes the court for the first time on Tuesday night at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.
Nine of the twelve players on Faith's roster did not play for the Eagles last season. After last year's 2-26 finish, Coach Brian Fincham believes that new look will equate to more wins.
Despite the large number of fresh faces, the team will actually be more experienced than last year due to the amount of playing experience each of them brings.
Forward Chase Clark (a transfer from University of Northern Iowa) and guard Cole Glanzer (ACL tear) return to the Eagles after a year away, but both bring veteran experience and a familiarity with Fincham's system.
Several freshmen look to contribute significant minutes, bringing accomplished resumes to the Eagles.
Kalab Sidlinger is the centerpiece (literally) of the talented freshmen class. At 6'7, Sidlinger will give the Eagles a lot of options defensively. Offensively, he amassed nearly 1,000 points and 500 rebounds between his sophomore and senior seasons, while leading his high school team to two state championships.
Christian Brown is a versatile post that can shoot the three. A 6'4 forward, Brown scored over 1,000 career points during his four-year high school career. As a senior, he averaged 15.0 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game and led his team to a 20-4 record.
Nathan Meinders is a physical forward who played a key role on his high school team that finished 19-6 his senior season, just missing the Iowa High School boys state tournaments.
Micah Stinson will give the Eagles immediate depth in the guard court and is a well-rounded player that figures to get a lot of minutes.
The season schedule is daunting from the very beginning. The Eagles hit the courts four times this week, with games against Union College on Tuesday, Providence University on Thursday, Ozark Christian on Friday, and Randall University on Saturday. All of the Thursday through Saturday games are at home.
Randall University is a three-time National Champion. Providence was the #1 seed in the region last year, and Ozark Christian is the defending conference champion. Coach Fincham knows the first week will be a tall task as he tries to figure out a rotation against strong competition.
"We will be tested early with a young group of newcomers," said Coach Fincham. "We're trying to push the pace a little more and try to utilize our length on defense. More than anything, we emphasize team and how we handle ourselves spiritually and to maintain a good testimony."