Wright State basketball coach Scott Nagy knows he can count on his wife’s support at games this season, of course, but he’s not expecting her to be in his corner when his team hosts Wayne State in an exhibition in two weeks.
That’s because son Tyler is a senior guard for the Division II school from Nebraska. And if Jamie Nagy is forced to choose between pulling for her husband or one of the couple’s five children, the second-year coach knows how that’s going to turn out.
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“When you ask my wife who’s she rooting for, she always tells me I’m not blood,” he said.
Nagy also faced his son while coaching at South Dakota State and didn’t like being put in that position.
But Tyler, who has been a backup his first three years, has played offseason pick-up games with the Raiders and is eager to get a shot at them Nov. 3.
“He worked out with our players all summer. He was like part of the team,” Nagy said. “I swear he spent more nights with those guys than he did at our house. He’s looking forward to it, and the players are too.”
For Wright State fans, the exhibition will be a chance to see the newcomers in action — and the Raiders will be counting on quite a few.
They have only one healthy returning starter in senior point guard Justin Mitchell. Senior forward Grant Benzinger had offseason surgery for an undisclosed injury and is out until at least the season opener.
Parker Ernsthausen, a 6-foot-11 junior, and Mark Hughes, a 6-4 junior, will likely claim starting roles, although Nagy said it’s too early to tell.
Everett Winchester, a 6-6 forward from Baltimore, and Louden Love, a 6-9 center from Geneva, Ill., redshirted last season and will have prominent roles. Jaylon Hall, a 6-5 freshman guard from Houston, also is expected to get quality minutes.
“We’re going to have to be patient because we’re counting on a lot of young guys to play for us, a lot of inexperience. And we’re also counting on a lot of guys to carry the load who aren’t used to carrying the load,” Nagy said.
One area where he hopes to see drastic improvement is on defense. The Raiders, who finished 20-12 last season, were ranked 180th out of 351 Division I teams in defensive efficiency, giving up an average of 1.016 points per possession.
They were slightly better offensively, ranking 127th with 1.035 points per possession.
“We finished in the middle of the pack. That’s not where we want to be,” Nagy said. “The defensive side is more important to me. The more you make teams miss, the better opportunities you have to score on the other end.” You end up getting easier shots on the break.
“We have to be really good on drives and ball screens and other things because we just don’t have a rim protector. We don’t have somebody sitting at the rim where, even if you make a mistake, is going to block shots. We have to be so good on the perimeter and not allow them to drive us and force them to take contested jump shots.”
Nagy would like to spend more time drilling his players on defense in practice, but he has to be careful because the Raiders are somewhat shorthanded.
Back-up point guard Tye Wilburn has had nagging injuries, and Winchester has been dinged up, too.
“Everett is just going to have to play dinged. That’s just the way it is,” Nagy said. “He’s got something with his foot that isn’t going to go away until he has surgery, and we’re not going to do that until after the season. He’ll just have to deal with it.”
The Raiders’ first game at the Nutter Center is against Murray State at 7 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 18.
One of the highlights of the home schedule also is the Wright State tournament with games against Gardner-Webb, Jacksonville and Fairfield Nov. 24-26.
Single-game tickets went on sale this week and are priced between $7 and $25. For information, go to WSURaiders.com or call (937) 775-4936.
Women’s soccer: Seven seniors played their final home game Wednesday against Cleveland State, including a pair of stalwarts in Niki Romero and Sarah Colvin.
Romero, a midfielder from Las Vegas, is a two-time first-team All-Horizon League pick. Colvin, a midfielder from Tipp City, went into the game leading the Raiders and tied for fifth in the conference in scoring with 18 points (six goals, six assists).
Also making their home farewells were Kaeli Studebaker of Centerville, Brinna Price (Tipp City), Maddi McKinney (Beavercreek), Savannah Carmosino (Cincinnati), Ellie Ganz (Powell, Ohio) and Brooklyne Mason (Middletown).
Men’s soccer: The Raiders are in the thick of the conference race. They’re second at 4-2, a shade behind 4-1-1 Green Bay, with three matches left.
They have the most overall wins in the conference with an 8-5-1 record. They finish the regular season at home at 7 p.m. Saturday against Northern Kentucky, at Cleveland State on Oct. 28 and home against IUPUI on Nov. 3.
The regular-season champ hosts the semifinals and finals of the league tournament.
The Raiders have won seven of their last 10 matches. All of their losses in that span have been by one goal.
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