The Albion College Men’s Basketball program expects to win the MIAA this season, hands down.
The Britons will have their top four scorers all back this year, including first-team All-MIAA award winner Kalin Kazen, Holland senior. Kazen averaged 15.6 points per game which led the Britons last season and also was the leading rebounder for Albion averaging 7.0 rebounds per game.
“We are experienced and have a solid core returning,” Leonard Wernette-Leff, Redford senior, said. “We also get [Anthony] Wash back who got hurt the first game of league play last year and [Chris] Hutton will be coming back just in time for league play this year.”
Wash averaged 9.6 points per game in the 12 games he played last season, whereas Hutton missed the entire 2011-2012 after injuring his hand in a lawnmower accident. Hutton averaged 11.5 points per game in the 2010-2011 season.
The Brtions finished 7-7 in MIAA league play last season, missing the MIAA tournament by one win. Albion finished fifth in the league; the top four teams in the league advance to the MIAA championship tournament.
There is a lot of hype surrounding the Britons returning players, but don’t sleep on the squad’s incoming freshmen class. With six seniors set to graduate after this season, head coach Jody May has recruited a talented group of first-year players to fill their shoes.
“We believe we have a great group of freshmen,” May said. “I wouldn’t be surprised if you see several of them on the floor by the end of the year.”
One freshman is already very familiar with the program because of his older brother. Dakota Kazen, Holland first-year, is the brother of Kolin and said his brother has made the transition to Albion easier. Kazen said the freshmen class has already become a tight-nit group.
“We all hang out a lot,” Dakota Kazen said. “We’ve all kind of been playing with each other for a bit so we have pretty good chemistry out on the floor too.”
Developing team chemistry is crucial if the Brits hope to achieve their goal of winning the MIAA title. To help build that chemistry, the team took a trip to Italy this past summer.
The Britons toured Rome, Florence and also took a trip to the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Sight-seeing was not the only way the team spent their time in Italy, though. The Britons defeated Stella Azzurra, an Italian League team, in the one and only game by a score of 64-45.
“I think all of us became closer on that trip,” Wernette-Leff said. “The team bonding was the main thing I think will help us over the course of this year. There will be some highs and lows. We will have to deal with them together.”
A myriad of hours have been spent preparing for the 2012-2013 season, and the Britons will put their hard work to the test Friday November 16 when they welcome the Manchester College Spartans to Kresge Gymnasium for their season opener.
The game is set to tip-off at 7:30 pm.