CHICAGO | Hayden Humes has completed his final offseason workouts and in a few short weeks, he’ll officially begin his final college basketball season at UIC.
The Valparaiso native is excited to get going after the Flames turned the corner with 18 victories last season and notched the first postseason win in program history.
“There’s a little more urgency going into your last year,” Humes said. “There’s nothing guaranteed after that.”
Humes was one of players on the roster to start 29 or more games for UIC last season and he is the only one of that group returning to the court this season. The former Toledo transfer shot a team-best 47.3 percent last season while averaging 10.3 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
“I’m eager to get better in practice every day and get prepared for the season,”he said. “Getting to the NCAA tournament is the goal every year. That’s what we want to do.”
Renewed Rival: Oakland coach Greg Kampe slid in the back of the media room Wednesday afternoon and did his best to keep quiet as various coaches talked about their programs. It turns out Kampe was just trying to learn everyone’s name in Oakland’s first season in the Horizon League.
“I’ve got a double knee replacement and I’m arthritic, so I saw a chair and I sat down,” Kampe joked. “Honestly, knowledge is power. I know nothing about this league and to listen to coaches speak about their teams is knowledge.”
Kampe had the press contingent in stitches as he remarked that Wright State coach Billy Donlon talks a lot about defense and that the Grizzlies won’t start practicing defense until two days before their season opener with North Carolina. The longtime Oakland coach said that while he doesn’t know more than 10 players in the league, he certainly remembers Valparaiso.
“Valpo was our rival (in the Mid-Continent Conference) and it was because of one-point games,” Kampe said. “Valpo beat us 16 straight times to start the rivalry and in 10 of those games, we were leading with under three minutes to go. That’s what built the rivalry, that and a great relationship with (former VU coach) Homer (Drew). We had a fight in a game, a real brawl, and we still have a great deal of respect for each other.”
Horizon Homework: One year after taking the media to task for spending too much ink on Butler’s departure from the league, Wright State coach Billy Donlon was back at it again Wednesday afternoon.
While responding to a question about higher expectations now that the Raiders were picked to finish second this season after being pegged to finish last in 2012-13, Donlon took aim.
“Has anyone won more games in the last seven years in the Horizon League than Wright State,” Donlon asked. “We had one bad year and other people chose to pick us last. We didn’t pick ourselves last. Is there more of a target on our back? We started last year 5-1, so there was a heck of a target on our back then. I think the guys picking this should do a better job on their homework because every year someone who is picked low is at the top of the league.”