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Little Giants have championship aspirations this season

Wabash senior guard Jack Davidson needs just 419 points to become the schools all-time leading scorer.

With the COVID-19 pandemic drastically changing the way athletics were taking place at Wabash College last season, the Little Giants basketball only played in 12 games.

Now with a new season on the horizon, the Little Giants are back in full force and have their eyes set on an conference title.

Wabash was picked to finish second just behind Wittenberg in the pre-season coaches poll. The Little Giants received 91 points while the Tigers received 93. Wabash and Wittenberg split the first place votes at five each.

This season will feature the return of the three-time All-NCAC guard senior Jack Davidson who needs just 419 points to become the school’s all-time leading scorer. Wabash ended the year two seasons ago with a 17-9 record, but saw their season end sooner than expected with a first round loss to Denison in the NCAC Tournament.

Little Giants coach Kyle Brumett said there is an excitement that surrounds this season and his team is getting back to competing at a high level.

“We left with a sour taste in our mouths two years ago,” Brumett said. “It was just a few weeks later that we found out that we wouldn’t be playing a normal season so the past year and a half has been very challenging. Our team though is excited about the work that we’ve put in and we have high expectations for this season. They’ve really learned to take things in stride and not take anything for granted. I believe we’re a much more mature group with all of the adversity we’ve been through.”

The Little Giants will have strong leadership from five seniors. Cam Chadd, Kellen Schreiber, Tyler Watson and Jack Hegwood join Davidson to round out the group of seniors.

“They’re really smart and just good people to have leading our team,” Brumett said. “They’ve really helped us grow these last 18 months and have come out of it in a really good place.”

This senior-led team is one of the reasons Wabash was picked as one of the favorites to compete for a conference title. The culmination of success and talent over the years has been building and this season, the Little Giants see that goal within reach.

“There’s been some ups and some downs when trying to lay down the foundation to compete for a championship,” Brumett said. “The two full seasons prior to the pandemic we placed second and felt like we’ve been building it the right way and not take any shortcuts. Jack Davidson, Kellen Schreiber and Tyler Watson have worked as hard as anybody I’ve ever been around. We’ve been able to recruit guys in classes behind them that want to be like those guys. We’re excited to show that we’ve built this thing into a team that can compete for a championship.”

Davidson not only is on the verge of becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer, but also ranks seventh all-time in assists with 252. He could have chosen to pursue job opportunities, but instead chose to come back for one final ride.

“He’s always had aspirations to play basketball once he graduates,” Brumett said of Davidson. “He is still looking for opportunities like that. At the end of the day he had many opportunities in life but chose to come back. Having him come back really shows what we’re trying to accomplish and how important his experience at Wabash has been to him. His relationship is also pretty special with his class and the guys he plays with. Them all getting us to the top together was something that was really important to him.”

The schedule will do no favors for the Little Giants who will be tested in their third game of the season when they travel to Marietta, Ohio for two games in the Great Lakes Classic. Their first opponent Nov. 19 will be the number three team in the Division III poll in host school Marietta. The following day Wabash takes on No. 13 Emory University. Wittenberg who the Wabash will see twice this season is ranked 22nd and DePauw also received 32 votes in the inaugural poll.

“We’ll have to face some adversity along the way for sure.” Brumett said. “We intentionally added some challenging non-conference teams, but our guys are a really connected group. Centre College who we open the season with has been a regular NCAA Tournament team. Our group of seniors have put us in position to compete against teams like these. I think they’re excited about how difficult the schedule is going to be.”

The season opener against Centre College will take place this afternoon at 2 p.m. The Little Giants home opener at Chadwick Court will be next Wednesday against Hanover.

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