ESCANABA, MI – The Bay Norse Men's Basketball team returns four starters from a team that won 22 games a year ago. Joining six returning players will be ten talented freshmen, as the Norse become eligible for postseason play this year.
Matt Johnson will once again roam the sidelines for the Norse as the Head Coach. The 2017-18 team was the first time Bay College fielded a team since the 1977-78 season, and the Norse accumulated a 22-7 record in its return.
The Norse have six returning players on a roster of 16 players. Alfonzo Fields (SO, Milwuakee, WI), Marcus McKenney (SO, Menominee, MI), and Darien Nichols (SO, Manistique, MI) return to lead the backcourt group for Bay. Fields and McKenney were the only players to start in all 29 games last season. Fields would shoot 41.6% from the field over the season, averaging 11.4 points per game. He would lead the team with 55 steals on the season. McKenney would play 29.4 minutes per game last season, scoring 8.7 points per game and producing 3.2 assists per game. Nichols would come off the bench in 15 games last season, and wound up shooting 41.7% from the field.
The frontcourt personnel will also be led by three returning players. Dontae Ellis (SO, Milwaukee, WI), Kobi Lumsden-Barnes (SO, Milwaukee, WI), and Tyler Willette (SO, Escanaba, MI) are the returning forwards to the roster. Ellis will look to rebound after an injury cut his season short last season. The 6'10" Lumsden-Barnes will look to be a main stay in the paint this season. He started in 27 games last season, averaged 13.9 points, grabbed 8.5 rebounds per game, and blocked 65 shots over the course of the season. Willette started in 25 games a season ago, scoring 13.8 points per contest and grabbing 6.9 rebounds per game.
Ten freshmen will add athleticism, size, and depth to the roster this season. Ryan Arndt (Bark River, MI), Cade Contreras (Munising, MI), and Ryan Robinette (Escanaba, MI) add to the guard position for the Norse. Forwards DeAndre Magsby (Milwaukee, WI), Logan Hardwick (Rapid River, MI), and 6'8" Christian Alexander (Dorset, UK) bring size and athleticism to the position. Four student-athletes will take on responsibilities in both the frontcourt and backcourt. Reggie Dean (Milwaukee, WI), Luke Mattson (Negaunee, MI), Trey McFerrin (Marquette, MI), and Dondre Yohe (Ishpeming, MI) round out a talented roster.
Coach Johnson seemed pleased with the makeup of this year's roster. "Our biggest strengths will be our experience and our depth. We return 4 starters that played a lot of minutes for us last year. The experience will help us compete with the stronger teams on our schedule. When we hit the road recruiting, we knew that we needed to get longer and more athletic and we feel like we accomplished that."
The Norse hosted Sault College from Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario in an exhibition on October 20. They would take control early in the matchup and spread their lead to a 51-31 score at the half. Bay College would shoot 50% from the field and outrebound their opponents 55-37 on their way to a 93-65 victory. Four Norse players would score in double digits, with Dean leading the way with 13 points. McKenney would grab six rebounds and have eight assists, while Alexander would pull down six rebounds.
The Norse open their season on Friday in Mason City, Iowa where they will take part in the Konigsmark Klassic Tournament hosted by North Iowa Community College. They will face Ellsworth Community College in the opening matchup of the season. That game will tip-off at 5 P.PM. On Saturday Bay will square off with North Iowa Community College at 6 P.M. Be sure to check the official website of Bay Norse Athletics, www.baynorse.com, and go to the "schedule/results" page for live audio and video links as they are available throughout the season.