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Metro Detroit

December 11, 2013

WSU basketball to defend co-league championship

By Mark Vest
C & G Sports Writer

» click to enlarge «
Wayne State University’s Bryan Coleman is pictured shooting the ball during an exhibition game against the University of Michigan.

Since David Greer has been head coach of Wayne State University’s men’s basketball team, the Warriors have made four appearances in the Division II NCAA tournament.

Two of those appearances have come in the last three years, including one last season, after Wayne State won a Co-GLIAC (Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) championship and earned an at-large bid into the NCAA tournament.

Wayne State (1-1) is going to be making its title run this season without the services of Mike Hollingsworth (Utica High School), who Greer said has been medically ruled out. Aside from losing Hollingsworth, who has been an All-GLIAC selection two times, the Warriors have also sustained other injuries.

While losing players to injury isn’t exactly how Greer would have planned things, the minutes and experience other players may get as a result could turn out to be beneficial for Wayne State later on.

“We’re playing with some inexperienced players, in Gavin Toma (Southfield Christian), Mike Lewis (Ann Arbor Huron) and Clark Bishop (Detroit Renaissance),” he said. “Those guys are good players, but they just have no experience. If we can just get the veteran guys back, those guys are gaining experience, so now that makes your bench deeper, (and) consequently you have a stronger team because of it. Hopefully, once we get those guys back healthy, (it will) benefit us.”

Facing some early season adversity hasn’t stopped Greer from aiming for the top of the GLIAC.

“We are still (setting) our sights on defending our league championship,” he said. “If we can get guys healthy and move guys back to their normal position, I think we’ll end up being a pretty decent team. Even without Mike, we got a chance to be a very good basketball team.”

Chene Phillips (Detroit Renaissance) and Gerald Williams-Taylor (Flint Northern) are Wayne State’s team captains, and while that role could be considered an important one during any season, with the loss of Hollingsworth, their role as team leaders may become all the more significant.

“We lost two outstanding captains last year in Ian Larkin and Cole Prophet, who were All-League players, All-Region players,” he said. “Those guys were outstanding leaders, outstanding students, outstanding people. I would think Chene and Gerald learned a lot from those guys on how to lead a team (and) how to deal with adversity. Those guys are outstanding young men.

“Chene pretty much is quiet and sort of leads by example, whereas Gerald is more vocal and outspoken. They complement each other really well. Losing Mike, I think those guys know they have to step up and lead the team. I think those guys will do a good job.”

Greer said Wayne State currently has six seniors on the roster, and while that may mean significant turnover is on the way, he doesn’t seem too concerned about the program’s ability to attract new talent.

“We lose quite a few seniors, and this will be a big recruiting year for us,” Greer said. “But we have some outstanding young players — they’re just short on experience. Wayne State — from an academic standpoint and great location — recruiting has never been an issue. Being in a rich area like the metro Detroit area, you get some outstanding prospects. We’ve had some outstanding players since I’ve been here, and I anticipate that tradition to continue.”

Other players from our coverage area on the Warriors’ roster are Victor Sharpe (Warren Mott), John Williamson (Lake Orion), Bryan Coleman (Southfield-Lathrup) and Michael Martin (West Bloomfield).

Wayne State is scheduled to be in action at 7 p.m. Dec. 11 in a home game against Kalamazoo College.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Mark Vest at mvest@candgnews.com or at (586)279-1112. Twitter Follow Mark on Twitter.