Wright State basketball: Sophomore class giving Nagy a reason to smile

FAIRBORN — Loudon Love is the reigning Horizon League Player of the Year, but even someone of his stature can have a shoddy game once in a while.

His clunky performance against Robert Morris last Friday fell into that category. He tallied just seven points on 3-of-12 shooting.

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But the senior center wasn’t overly concerned, knowing the Raiders don’t have to depend on any one player.

“Everybody can have an off night, and we’ve got enough people to pick it up,” he said after the 79-70 win. “We have so much offensive production on this team. It can come from anywhere.”

The Raiders (13-4), who have five straight wins and are a season-high 11th in the CollegeInsider.com mid-major poll, have been able to put four starters around Love who are playing well enough to earn postseason accolades.

And as opponents probably have noticed to their great dismay, all four are only sophomores, which means the preseason league favorites have a blindingly bright future.

As fifth-year coach Scott Nagy said: “Our sophomore class is the best class we’ve had to this point. And they’re going to be together for a while. It’s kind of fun to look at that for sure.”

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Since the NCAA is giving everyone a free year of eligibility this season, the quartet could be together for the next THREE seasons.

A more likely scenario, though, is that third-year sophomores Grant Basile and Tim Finke will opt move on after playing as fifth-year seniors, while true sophomores Tanner Holden and Trey Calvin could be enticed to stick around for an extra year.

“They’re all good players,” Nagy said. “Our sophomore class is so solid. And the players around them in the other classes are, too.

“We’re in a good spot. We’re happy with the way our program has progressed.”

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The four sophs all have different skill sets, which helps them mesh, and each has led the Raiders in scoring in at least one game.

Basile: The 6-foot-9 forward is shooting 63.9%, which is eighth nationally. A league all-freshman team pick last year, he’s averaged 20.8 points his last four games. He’s also first in the league in blocks with 28.

Holden: The 6-5 guard is averaging 16.8 points (first on the team) and 7.2 rebounds (second). Though he’s polished his game in a variety of ways, Holden, who also was an all-freshman team pick, has improved most at the foul line.

He’s made 18 of his last 19 and is shooting a team-best 79.3%, up from 60.9% in 2019-20.

Finke: Averaging 10.4 points and 6.2 rebounds, the 6-5 guard doesn’t mind mixing it up inside, which is why he missed one game with a concussion after taking a forearm to the face. He leads the team in 3′s with 30 while shooting a nifty 42.3%.

Calvin: The 6-0 point guard leads the team in assists with 58 and has a 2-to-1 assist-turnover ratio, which any coach would take. He’s also the team leader in steals with 22.

He probably had the most pressure coming into the season after replacing star Cole Gentry. He’s also the least heralded of the bunch.

“Trey is a great player,” Holden said. “He can pretty much do everything — shoot the ball, score in any way, and he can guard.

“I just like his basketball IQ. It kind of matches up with mine. It’s nice to have someone out there who thinks the same way, and you can bounce ideas off each other as the game is going on. … He’s definitely going to be a force to be reckoned with in the league.”

All four are unselfish, which helps the chemistry between them.

“We talk about it a little bit,” Finke said of their future as teammates. “It’s crazy to think of the years we have together — which is a scary thing (for opponents), we think.

“We all love playing with each other, so it’s really, really exciting. And we think we can build something special here.”


Wright State at UIC, 8 p.m., ESPN+, 106.5

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