- Doug Harris Contributing Writer
Cole Gentry has big aspirations this season, and it has nothing to do with individual goals. He wants to help the Raiders achieve something they’ve only managed to do once before — seize a league crown.
The Raiders joined the Mid-Continent Conference in 1991 and the Midwestern College Conference in 1994 before shifting to their current home in the Horizon League in 2001.
Their only title in that span was a co-championship with Butler in 2007.
But Gentry, who transferred last December from South Dakota State, believes another first-place finish is possible — and why not? The Raiders (5-4) were picked to finish fifth in the preseason poll, but the league looks balanced with three teams with winning records and all 10 having at least two losses.
“The goal is always the same — win the conference. And we definitely have the pieces to do it,” Gentry said. “It’s a matter of execution and game-planning. But we definitely have the guys capable of winning the championship, and that’s what we’re expecting to do.”
The Raiders haven’t exactly looked like title contenders so far, but that may change when Gentry becomes eligible at Toledo on Saturday, Dec. 16. Coach Scott Nagy has yearned for a natural point guard, and the 5-foot-10 sophomore seems to fit that description.
He was recruited by Nagy to South Dakota State out of St. Charles, Ill. He redshirted in 2015-16 in Nagy’s last season there and played 10 games the following year before transferring.
Gentry started four games for the Jackrabbits and averaged 3.3 points and 1.9 assists.
“It will put one more good shooter on the floor,” Nagy said. “He’ll be by far our best ball-handler. We’ll be able to play faster because we’ll be a little deeper. Plus, he’s really good in the open court.”
The Raiders have been relying on 6-4 senior Justin Mitchell and 6-5 freshman Jaylon Hall to play point guard, but their skill sets could be better utilized elsewhere.
Gentry has done nothing but run the show his whole career, which is why his arrival is expected to give the Raiders a lift. But Nagy wants to temper expectations.
“People are crazy if they think he’s going to be the panacea for all our problems because he’s not going to be,” he said. “But it does give us a really good player, whether he starts or comes off the bench.”
Gentry doesn’t care what his role is. He’s just itching to contribute.
“I’m looking forward to be counted on to help the team win, in whatever way that is,” he said. “I’m looking forward to the added responsibility. It’s been a while since I’ve been counted on in a situation that determines a win or loss.”
Volleyball: Sixth-year coach Susan Clements was fired by Wright State. The Raiders won their last two matches this season but finished 11-18.
Clements went 87-70 as coach at Niagara, making three NCAA Tournament trips in five years. But she couldn’t duplicate that success with the Raiders, going 48-133.
Wright State announced it will conduct a national search for her replacement.