BLOOMINGTON — Illinois Wesleyan basketball coach Ron Rose admits his rotation is a bit bulky and will likely undergo some trimming eventually.
Yet with Wednesday's 7 p.m. season opener against Fontbonne at Shirk Center at hand, Rose has a list of 12 players pegged for court time.
That depth feeds into the narrative Rose hopes his team will embrace and believes it will.
"We talk about playing more while you're out there. We don't want anybody coasting," Rose said. "Play as hard as you can in the minutes you're out there. We believe we have enough depth to get a fresh body out there. Hopefully that will sustain us so we can play hard for 40 minutes."
IWU will start 6-foot-2 junior Nick Coleman at point guard, 6-3 junior Brady Rose and 6-4 junior Colin Bonnett at the wings and 6-6 senior Jaylen Beasley and 6-9 sophomore Alex O'Neill in the post.
"Oh man, we're excited. We've had a good month of practice, and we're definitely ready to go," said Brady Rose. "We have a lot of competitive guys and a lot of skilled guys. Since I've been here, this is the most athletic team we've had."
Freshman Grant Wolfe will spell Coleman at the point. Junior Jason Gregoire, sophomore Zach Knobloch and freshman Doug Wallen will come off the bench on the wings with senior Tyler Burdine, junior Danny Baker and sophomore Miles Curry available inside.
"I really believe these guys' character, work ethic and approach all lends itself to improving and competing at a high level," said Coach Rose. "I expect us to be a team that plays tremendously hard, and it's also a very unselfish group. These guys have put a premium on a team approach, and I'm looking forward to seeing that play out in live action."
Fontbonne was 3-22 last season. Its top returning players are 6-8 senior Jack Lake (12. 3 points per game last season) and 5-7 junior Kris McCann (11.4).
The Titans will plunge into their season with three games in four days. Alma will visit Shirk Center on Friday with IWU playing host to Calvin on Saturday.
"That's probably a good thing at this stage," Ron Rose said. "Coaches always want another week or two of practice, but players are ready to go. It really is time we get tested against other teams."