A strong finish, with five wins in their last seven games, did much to soothe the frustration of an otherwise disappointing 13-19 men’s basketball season at Wabash Valley College.
At least coach Mike Carpenter, hired last June with almost no time left to build a team, will have a full recruiting season ahead to turn things around.
“Help is on the way,” said Carpenter during a recent interview session.
Fans at Spencer Sports Center could already see the future unfolding as the second semester began, with 6-foot-10 Brian Wilson on the bench, having already signed for next year.
“We just got another commitment from a 6-foot-6 guard that we’re really excited about,” Carpenter said. WVC also has a commitment from a high-scoring 6-foot-3 guard out of central Illinois. But those two will have to remain nameless until the April 8 signing date.
After leaving Danville Area for Wabash Valley last summer, Carpenter lined up a couple of big men he thought would carry the team. But, Sidecki Johnson left for the NBA Developmental League before the juco season even began, eventually playing professionally in Belgium.
Wesley Afolayan did not pan out as an inside leader, leaving the Warrior cupboard bare of big men.
Carpenter retooled the team to fit the talent available and had them playing their best at the end of the season, taking second-ranked Vincennes to the mat before losing in the NJCAA Region 24 tournament semifinals.
“We knew we might struggle in the first season,” he said. “We’re trying to build a culture of winning the right way. That’s what I promised the administration when I interviewed here and that’s the promise I plan on keeping.
“We’ll go to work in the off-season. We have several of these guys back next season. The future is definitely bright for this program.