Raiders will have home-court advantage again with return of fans

Tanner Holden, shown during the 2019-20 seaosn vs. Green Bay at the Nutter Center. Joseph Craven/WSU Athletics
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Tanner Holden, shown during the 2019-20 seaosn vs. Green Bay at the Nutter Center. Joseph Craven/WSU Athletics

FAIRBORN — After playing in an empty, buzz-less, library-like Nutter Center last season, the Wright State men’s basketball team will have its usual crowd support again — and that’s good news not only for the school’s bottom line, but for those taking the floor, too.

Brandon Hays, the new associate athletic director for external operations, said season-ticket sales have been brisk, already approaching the 2019-20 total of about 1,100.

That doesn’t count those taking advantage of various mini-packages. Single-game tickets go on sale Nov. 1.

“Wright State fans are ready to come back,” said Hays, who had a previous stint in sales and marketing at Wright State and had been working at Northern Kentucky the last five years.

“We’ve traditionally led the Horizon League in attendance, and I don’t see that going anywhere. There hasn’t been a drop off.”

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Hays said masks will be required at games, just as they are on campus, “unless you’re actively eating or drinking.” There’s no vaccine mandate.

The Raiders, who averaged a league-best 4,154 fans two years ago, open Nov. 9 against Division-II Lake Erie College.

“We’ve had a handful of people who don’t agree with the mask mandate, and they’ve dropped off. We’ve had a couple other people say they don’t feel comfortable coming around. But I’ve been amazed by the lack of that,” Hays said.

“Our season-ticket holders and donors are ready to come back.”

They will be a welcome sight for the Raiders. As point guard Trey Calvin put it, “I feed off the fans. I can’t wait for that.”

Season tickets range from $100 for 14 home games in the arena corners to $450 for the first six rows between the end lines.

Floor seats go for $5,800 a pair, which includes a personalized parking spot and a pre-game meal. There are a handful left.

For information, go to WSURaiders.com or call (937) 775-4936.

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MOVING ON: The Horizon League went through major upheaval in the offseason, losing two local stars who have been a pain at times for the Raiders: Green Bay’s Amari Davis and Youngstown State’s Darius Quisenberry.

Davis, a 6-3 junior, is suiting up for Missouri and will be eligible immediately under the NCAA’s new one-time transfer rule. He was a second-team all-league pick last season and the first player to be named league freshman of the year for the Phoenix.

The Trotwood-Madison grad had 35 points in a losing effort at Wright State last season and 24 in a 92-89 home win as a freshman.

“I chose Mizzou because I felt like it was a great opportunity for me here,” Davis said in the school’s press release. “I like the basketball culture at Mizzou. Coach (Cuonzo) Martin is well-known and well-respected, and I knew I could trust him with developing me into a better player.”

Quisenberry, who earned his degree in three years at YSU, is a grad transfer at Fordham.

The 6-2 guard, a Wayne High School grad, started 78 games for the Penguins and averaged 15 points over his career. He was named first team all-league as a sophomore and second team as a freshman.

He didn’t play against his hometown team last season because of an ankle injury, but he torched the Raiders with 41 points in an upset as a sophomore, going 14 of 26 from the field, 7 of 11 on 3′s and 6 of 6 on foul shots.

He expressed his gratitude for his time at YSU on Twitter. But he’s also eager for a fresh start, posting in all caps, “NEW YORK CITY HERE I COME!”

Despite some significant additions, the league overall experienced a net loss from the transfer portal.

The Penguins were able to land Dayton transfer Dwayne Cohill, but perennial all-league forward Naz Bohannon decided to play as a grad transfer at Clemson for former Wright State coach Brad Brownell.

The four-year starter amassed more than 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

IUPUI guard Jaylen Minnett, the program’s all-time 3-point leader, transferred to Missouri State. Robert Morris forward A.J. Bramah, who averaged 21 points and 10.3 rebounds last season, bolted for Nevada.

Oakland forward Daniel Oladapo, who averaged 12.9 points and 8.8 boards, left for Pittsburgh. And Milwaukee all-league guard Te’jon Lucas transferred to BYU.

But a few HL schools are reveling in roster gains.

Preseason favorite Cleveland State lost just one rotation player from last season and picked up two Division-I transfers in Nathanael Jack, a 6-5 role player at Florida State, and 6-4 guard Broc Finstuen, who averaged 11.2 points for Pacific.

Oakland added former Marquette wing Jamal Cain, who averaged nearly 10 points last season.

Purdue Fort Wayne reeled in transfer Damian Chong Qui, who was a first-team All-Northeast Conference guard for Mount Saint Mary’s and led the Mountaineers to the league tourney title.

Robert Morris landed former St. John’s guard Rasheem Dunn, who averaged 9.4 points and 4.0 assists, and Michael Green III, an All-NEC guard from Bryant.

PAY RAISE: Cleveland State coach Dennis Gates, who led the Vikings to their first regular-season crown in 10 years and first NCAA tourney berth in 11 years in just his second season, was rewarded by the school.

The 39-year-old former Florida State assistant signed a six-year deal worth $500,000 annually with incentives. He had been making $285,000.

That’s the going rate for proven mid-major coaches. Wright State’s Scott Nagy also has a base salary of $500,000.

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