New additions change men’s basketball

Rams men's basketball vs Nebraska Wesleyan
The Rams men’s basketball team took the court to face Nebraska Wesleyan for a home game Nov. 17. Photo by Ericka Sura.

Rams look to fill Voigt’s shoes

The men’s basketball team began their season with lofty goals, but are looking to find a way to compensate for the loss of last season’s leading scorer Travis Voigt, who left North Central after last season.

The Rams return three starters from last year: senior Joel Cline, junior Jared High and senior C.J. Lewis. Aside from those three players the rest of the team will look very different.

“New guys will be in the lineup and have to step up,” Cline said. “We have a good mix of freshman and transfers and we’re all still learning how to play together.”

The team will need to find a way to divide out Voigt’s responsibilities. Last year Voigt averaged 16.6 points per game while shooting 38.3% from three. With the addition of two new post players, 6’7” Roy Mack and 6’4” A.J. McGrew, the scoring looks to be evenly divided this year.

“We have a lot of bigs that can score inside and out,” Cline said, “which will make teams have to guard more than two or three of our guys.”

Cline believes a shift in culture from last year to this year will play a crucial role in the Rams’ success.

“It’s a different vibe,” Cline said. “We have a lot of guys around the same age, which I think is part of the reason we’re such a close knit group.”

Lewis is the only true point guard on the starting five, which will open up opportunities for not just him, but the rest of the team as well.

Aside from Lewis the entire starting five is 6’3” or taller. Cline believes this size will play to their advantage when it comes to distributing the scoring amongst the starters and aid them in fulfilling their goal of a conference championship.

Although the team is still young and learning how to play together, Cline believes once they hit their stride they’ll be a prominent force in the conference.

“As the season progresses I think it’s important for us to get that main goal,” Cline said. “And that main goal for us this year is to take home conference.”

Last year the Rams finished with an overall record of 8-16 and a conference record of 4-12. Despite their struggles, the Rams’ future looks bright. Plenty of new players means a new dynamic, and their developing team chemistry should make for an exciting season.

The Rams are 1-4 this season, with the sole win coming against Moody Bible Institute on Dec. 2. High leads the team on offense, averaging 14.5 points per game and 4.8 rebounds per game. Lewis is averaging 10.5 points per game, tied for second on the team with junior Marcus Wynn.