The Illinois Wesleyan basketball team’s offense doesn’t always have a point. Or at least a point guard, that is.
The uncommon depth of the Titans has given IWU coach Ron Rose a plethora of options, one of which is having his leading scorer (Brady Rose) also serve as the primary ballhandler.
“It’s nice to have a guy who has the flexibility to go back and forth from one (guard) to two,” Ron Rose said of his son, who is second in the College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin at 21.7 points per game entering the Titans’ 7 p.m. league game Saturday against North Park in Chicago.
“As long as our players can make those adjustments, it makes us hard to guard. The defense has to adjust as well.”
While off guard Jason Gregoire has moved into the starting lineup recently, true point guards Grant Wolfe and Nick Coleman both have seen considerable playing time.
“Grant gives the team a different dynamic,” Coach Rose said of the freshman from Effingham. “He has that bulldog mentality on the defensive end. Offensively, he can create off the bounce for other people. The last few weeks we’ve seen better decision making and his comfort running the offense improving as well.”
Wolfe has seen the most playing time of IWU’s highly regarded freshman class, averaging 4.0 points with a team-high total of 10 steals.
“I adjusted quicker than I really expected myself to, which is good,” said Wolfe. “I always play with a lot of confidence. That’s what I pride myself in.”
Coleman has started nine games and not played in three for the Titans, who are 11-3 overall and 4-1 in the CCIW.
“Having the depth we have is a real benefit for the team, but it makes it hard on the coach. There are two or three guys on our roster that are going to be game-time decisions,” Ron Rose said. “That requires a high level of maturity and unselfishness on their part.
"Nick came through big time for us against Augustana. There will be other moments we’re going to need Nick to be ready to go.”
The Titans were idle Wednesday as the other eight CCIW teams squared off.
“It allowed us to give our guys an additional day off,” said Coach Rose. “It also allows you to not even consider another team for a couple days where you’re strictly improving what you do. It’s been really good.”
North Park is a starkly different team than the one that beat Wesleyan twice last season while sharing the CCIW title at 11-5 and finishing 18-8 overall.
The Vikings have lost first-team all-conference players in Jordan Robinson and Juwan Henry. Robinson averaged 22.4 points and 9.3 rebounds en route to CCIW Most Outstanding Player honors.
At 4-9 and 1-4 in league play, North Park has the CCIW’s No. 3 scorer in 5-foot-7 senior Colin Lake (21.5). Billy Kirby, a 6-3 junior, adds 13.5 points, while 6-6 freshman Matt Mohr is the leading rebounder at 6.2.
“There are a few guys who have consistently played, but then they are really experimenting with others,” Rose said. “In some ways, it makes them really hard to prepare for.”