Wright State seniors doing their part to keep Raiders rolling

Wright State’s leading scorers are all underclassmen: sophomore Loudon Love and juniors Bill Wampler and Cole Gentry. But while the four seniors all average fewer than 10 points, the Raiders probably wouldn’t be in the thick of the Horizon League race without them.

Three are starters and premier defenders. And though Mark Hughes, Parker Ernsthausen and Alan Vest may not be prone to give locker-room speeches, they’ve supplied much-needed leadership because of their work habits.

»PREVIEW: Cleveland State at Wright State

“You don’t have to be loud to be a leader,” coach Scott Nagy said. “If you’re consistently doing the other things you’re supposed to be doing, you can hold people accountable. And all these guys consistently do what they’re supposed to do, so when they speak up, people listen.”

The trio — along with one-time walk-on Adam Giles of Miamisburg — will be playing their final two regular-season home games when the Raiders host Cleveland State at 7 p.m. Thursday and Youngstown State at 3 p.m. Saturday. Senior day festivities will follow the YSU game, which is causing at least a little angst among the four since they each have to address the crowd.

“Alan and Parker are already asking me if I know what I’m going to say,” Hughes said. “Once I get out there, I’m just going to keep it short and make sure people have a remembrance of me.”

Hughes has had the most memorable career of the group. He’s started the last two seasons, making the league’s all-defensive team last year. He’s scored 797 career points.

“I remember being a freshman and J.T. Yoho and Dan Collie giving their senior speeches. Now, I’m in the same position,” Hughes said. “It’s so crazy to think how fast time goes — especially when you’re having fun playing the sport you love. I’m really appreciative of the opportunity to play here in front of a great fan base and for great coaches.”

Nagy expressed his appreciation for all four.

About Hughes, he said: “He’s been a guy that every single game has had to guard the other team’s best (perimeter player), whether it be a point guard, small forward or ‘2’ guard. That’s a really heavy load. But he’s accepted it and done a great job.”

Ernsthausen, who has 73 career starts and 529 points: “He’s the one guy, statistically, who wouldn’t necessarily show up on an all-defensive team, but we consider him one of the best defenders in the league. He’s one of the smartest players I’ve ever coached. … He’s been a great communicator. He’s been an unbelievable leader down the stretch in terms of his positivity when things haven’t been going well. He’s the one voice I consistently hear.”

Vest, who has had 18 starts (all coming this year) and 189 points: “He’s been an unbelievable teammate through a difficult situation, which is not getting to play. He’s pours his heart out (on the floor), and for him to be able to play this year and really contribute, in a lot of ways, has been fun for me. And it’s been fun for the whole team to watch it.”

Giles, who has appeared in 25 games and was put on scholarship for the second semester this year: “The players were really excited about it. We brought his family in. Mom was crying. It was a lot of fun. … He has to bang with Loudon every single day (in practice). He’s the only guy who can do it because he’s so strong and so physical. He’s helped Loudon get better, and he gets no glory whatsoever but continues to be a good teammate.”

All four probably can use Nagy as a reference for future job searches.

“All these guys are the kind of people anybody would want to hire,” he said. “They’re dependable, and they’re smart.”


Cleveland State at Wright State, 7 p.m., ESPN+, 106.5-FM

About the Author