Kirkwood’s Devan Douglas drives to the basket
Mix of seasoned veterans and incoming talent a recipe for on-the-court success
The Kirkwood men’s basketball team looks to build off of last year’s conference title when it opens the season in Ottumwa against William Penn University at the Indian Hills Classic on Nov. 2.
Guard Kasey Semler and forward Matt Tiby return to lead the team in hopes of repeating as conference champions. A returning starter, Tiby averaged 12 points and six rebounds for the Eagles last season, earning a spot on the All-Region Honorable Mention team. Semler shot 38 percent from three-point range last year and looks to be a team leader in that area again.
Eyeing to make their mark on this year’s squad are incoming freshmen Taylor Olson and J.C. Fuller. Olson comes to Kirkwood from Cedar Rapids Jefferson after making First Team All-Mississippi Valley Conference averaging 18.4 points a game. Fuller led Sioux City East in scoring last year with 17.5 points-per-game shooting 49 percent from three-point range. He earned second-team All-State honors in addition to being named to the First Team All-Western Iowa squad. Both players took their teams to the state tournament last year.
This mix of seasoned veterans and young talent makes for an unknown, yet exciting group of players looking to build on last year’s accomplishments.
“We’re an experienced team in the front court, but a young team in the back court,” said Head Coach Doug Wagemester. “Opening the season with four consecutive road games is a challenge that will give us a good feel for where we stand.”
Wagemester enters his 15th season as head coach. He boasts an impressive 390-94 overall record. Equally impressive is the team’s conference record during his tenure, which stands at 169-22.
The rest of the coaching staff brings extensive experience to the court. Quincy Young enters his forth season as an assistant at Kirkwood. He graduated from Tennessee Temple University where he helped his team to two twenty-win seasons and two conference championships. First-year Assistant Coach Bryan Petersen joins him on the bench. Petersen was a two-year starter for Iowa State after finishing his career with Kirkwood in 2007. As an Eagle he earned First-Team Division II Junior College All-American honors.
The Eagles home opener is set for Nov. 13 when they take on Grand View University 7 p.m.