Nagy, Raiders still have questions after opener

Wright State's Grant Basile puts up a shot during Tuesday's season-opening win over Lake Erie College at the Nutter Center. Joe Craven/Wright State Athletics
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Wright State's Grant Basile puts up a shot during Tuesday's season-opening win over Lake Erie College at the Nutter Center. Joe Craven/Wright State Athletics

FAIRBORN— Wright State coach Scott Nagy had several things he was tracking in the first game of the post-Loudon Love era.

Though the burly center averaged 16.6 points last season, scoring was the least of the coach’s concerns. The Raiders have four returning starters who can get buckets in bunches — and they’re not shy about hoisting shots.

But what Nagy most wanted to see was a commitment to rebounding, which is something Love did so effortlessly that he was almost taken for granted.

In an 86-53 season-opening win over Lake Erie, the Raiders had a substantial 53-39 edge on the glass.

So far so good, right?

Well, not by Nagy’s standards.

“I want us to rebound the ball better. I want that to be a focus for us,” he said. “It’s easy to look at the stats and say, ‘Ah, we beat them by 14,’ but we’re not rebounding like I want us to rebound,” he said.

Grant Basile did his part. The long-armed, 6-foot-9 junior had 13 in 25 minutes, and he looks to have the skill set to be a consistent double-figure rebounder like Love this season.

But for the Raiders to be successful, it’ll take a group effort. And too many players had their minds on something else.

“We’re used to Loudon always being around the rim and rebounding the ball. Now, we’re spread out all over the floor,” Nagy said.

“I don’t like seeing 6-foot-8 guys checking back (on defense) when we’re shooting the ball. We’ve got to get that figured out.”

Nagy also doesn’t think the Raiders have a handle on their playing rotation yet. He puts that squarely on the staff.

He had to replace three of his six full-time coaches from last season:

Sharif Chambliss, who was a star player at Wisconsin, was hired by the Badgers.

Brian Cooley — a Nagy assistant for the previous 14 years — left for Colorado State. And Nick Nagy (the coach’s son) took a job in the business world.

Nagy hired Wayne coaching legend Travis Trice, ex-Jacksonville assistant Dan Beré and Tae Gibbs, who came from the small-college circuit.

“We have a great staff. I LOVE our staff. The guys we hired are excellent and great fits for us,” Nagy said. “(But) it’s really a new staff getting used to each other.”

The lack of familiarity may be why the Raiders aren’t committed yet to a fifth starter to go with Basile, Tanner Holden, Tim Finke and Trey Calvin.

Sophomore guard Alex Huibregtse (pronounced HUE-bricks) got the nod in the opener. He’s one of only five players to appear in all 24 games last season and became a solid defender and 3-point threat (19 of his 21 buckets were from beyond the arc).

But he went 2 of 8 from the field against Lake Erie. And Nagy probably will give others auditions at least for the next few weeks.

“There’s just so many directions we can go,” he said. “A lot of people think that’s a good thing. It’s good to have good players. But it’s also a little confusing, and it’ll help the team if we can get into a rhythm with our substitution pattern, and we’re not even close yet.”

NEW LOOK: College basketball coaches dressed way more causally last season during the pandemic. Most did away with suits and ties — maybe for good.

Nagy and his staff wore gray pullovers with slacks in the opener and don’t intend to go back.

“Honestly, at home, I wouldn’t mind (dressing up). But traveling, it’s excellent. To not have to take one or two suits on the road — and be able to take one bag and put your stuff in there — it’s great,” he said.

“It’ll bother some people. It’s like those who don’t dress up at church — some think you should. I don’t know what ‘should’ means. I know as a staff, we feel comfortable this way. And I know my administration, it doesn’t bother them, so, after that, I don’t worry about that.”

Two signees: The Raiders picked up a pair of big-bodied guards in the early signing period Wednesday: 6-8 Drey Carter of Westerville South and 6-4 Logan Woods of Fairfield.

Carter averaged 15.1 points and Woods 16.1 as juniors last season. Both were named first-team all-league and honorable mention all-state.

FRIDAY’S GAME

Wright State at Marshall, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 103.9

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