An Illinois Wesleyan basketball team that has exhibited enviable depth over its first three games will get a full opportunity to put that depth into action this weekend.
The 3-0 Titans meet Millsaps at 1 p.m. Saturday and Rhodes at 3 p.m. Sunday in the Rhodes Thanksgiving Classic at Mallory Gymnasium in Memphis, Tenn.
"We have been able to play a lot of different people and gain some valuable experience as a group," said IWU coach Ron Rose, whose team is averaging 92.7 points. "A real advantage we have had is our depth."
Rose is hopeful junior starter Colin Bonnett will be able to see action this weekend. Bonnett left a win over Calvin last Saturday after turning an ankle and did not return.
"He's progressing nicely," the IWU coach said. "We anticipate having him available for the game."
Brady Rose, the coach's son, is the Titans' leading scorer thus far at 20.0 per outing. Zach Knobloch is chipping in 18.0 off the bench and has connected on 15 of 24 from 3-point range.
Wesleyan's rebounding effort has been sparked by Jaylen Beasley (11.3) and Miles Curry (6.0).
"I'm pleased with the first three games," said Ron Rose. "This group has played well at times. But at the same time we have a lot of areas we have to improve on, and we believe we have the ability to improve in those areas."
Millsaps (1-2) is located in Jackson, Miss., and led by 5-foot-11 sophomore She'Chem Grant at 19.7 points. Five other Majors are contributing 8.0 to 9.3 points. Included in that group is 6-4 top rebounder James Turner (9.0 points, 9.7 rebounds).
"They are very athletic and very dribble drive oriented, and that's something we need to work on," Coach Rose said. "They don't have a lot of size, but we will have to guard a perimeter-oriented team."
Rhodes, which plays Howard Payne on Saturday, is 2-1 and scoring an eye-popping 123.3 points while giving up 113.7 per game.
Coach Mike DeGeorge, a former Grinnell assistant, has brought the Grinnell system to the Lynx. Rhodes presses fullcourt, fires up shots quickly and uses at least 15 players in a frequent substitution pattern.
"It's an untraditional way to play," said Rose. "They are going to press and look to make it a shootout. They present some different challenges."
Bryce Berry, a 5-11 sophomore, is the Lynx's leading scorer at 18.7, Five-10 senior Anesu Nyawata adds 14.0 and 6-9 senior Ian Harrison 11.7.
Millsaps and Rhodes are both members of the Southern Athletic Association.