May 4, 2015
After a historic season for men’s basketball, head coach Jeff Culver goes to the drawing board this summer with a completely different team.
With junior Derrick White transferring to CU-Boulder, Culver needs to motivate his team to step up next season.
“The immediate thought is next man up,” Culver said. “We don’t have time to sit back and worry too much about guys that come and go from the program. We want to spend our time and energy coaching those that are here.”
This season, the team went 27-6 overall, going 13-1 at home and winning the RMAC. Behind a 50-point night from White, the team won their first NCAA tournament game.
White will leave UCCS as the all-time leading scorer.
“It’s sad to see [White] go,” he said. “He’s done great things. I hope things work out for him moving forward.”
Though White was the leading scorer last season with almost 26 points per game, the Mountain Lions also graduate five seniors; three of whom contributed heavily to the team’s production.
Darius Pardner averaged over 9 points per game, Tim Billingsley averaged 7.5 points and 1.5 rebounds per contest and Alex Koehler added 3.4 points and 3.3 rebounds per game.
The Mountain Lions averaged 86.2 points per game this season. With those four departures, UCCS loses over 45 points per game.
According to Culver, the team doesn’t need to panic.
“Our philosophy always is trying to create a team basketball environment where we are at our best when we are sharing the basketball,” said Culver.
“Certainly there’s times where you need someone that you trust with the ball in their hands, when the game’s on the line,” he added. “We’ve got a few guys I feel are capable of doing that for us next year.”
Next season, the team will return seniors Alex Welsh, Kendall Godley, Dalton Patten and Shane Jensen, along with juniors TreShawn Wilford, Tim Haas and Neiman Lee.
“I think we will be very well balanced next year,” said Culver. “If you just look at guys like Alex Welsh and Kendall Godley as far as their shooting percentage, they were two of the top three guys. Those guys will be able to get some more looks.”
“We didn’t do a very great job of getting the ball to Dalton [Patten] well enough this past year,” he added. “He was hurt most of this year, so we’re looking forward to having him have a full healthy senior season. You have a guy like Treshawn [Wilford] that dictates tempo for us.”
As of April 30, Culver has signed four players to National Letters of Intent to play for UCCS next season.
To start the season, the men will travel to the Disney Tip-Off Classic in Anaheim, Calif. on Oct. 30.