ANKENY, Iowa—The Faith Eagles men's basketball team officially kicks off its season this Saturday against Free Lutheran Bible School at 4:00 p.m. in Ankeny. Their first exhibition game is tonight at Grand View University in Des Moines. Coach Brian Fincham is optimistic about his team's outlook this year with a good mix of veterans and youth on the 2019-20 roster.
The Eagles return four starters from last year: Tanner Van Beek, Jason Conable, Kalab Sidlinger, and Chase Clark, plus reserve Brett Larson. Van Beek is the team's leading returning scorer at 12.0 points per game. Chase Clark is the team's leading returning rebounder at 10.8 rebounds per game. Van Beek and Clark each shot over 50 percent from the floor a season ago.
The 11-man roster features several freshmen that look to make a significant contribution. Jayce Goergen, Nathan Keck, Noah Boyer (currently injured), and Sam Carstensen will play important roles in the overall success of Faith's season.
"Jayce is the best ball handler on the team, and Nathan is probably the most polished scorer on the roster. Jayce likes to push the pace and Nathan is really good in transition, too. Those two guys, I expect, will play a big role," said Coach Fincham.
The backcourt, led mostly by freshmen Goergen and Keck, will be young and inexperienced at the collegiate level, but a veteran frontcourt should help balance out a solid offensive attack for the Eagles.
"I expect us to be more competitive this year," said Coach Fincham. "We should be able to score. They work hard and they are a good group of guys."
Fincham notes transition offense and good team speed as strengths of the Eagles, but believes defense will ultimately determine how well Faith does this season. A strong exhibition schedule, beginning tonight against Grand View University, will provide good tests for his team before the conference schedule kicks in.
"I don't think we will see our real potential until mid-January," said Fincham. "It's hard to get into a flow with Thanksgiving and Christmas break."
Coach Fincham believes the conference is deep and balanced, with as many as five teams in the mix for the conference title.
When the Eagles take the floor for the first time on Saturday evening, it will make history as the first Faith Eagles men's basketball team to play on the new court that was installed this fall.