Senior guard Andy Winters’ play this season has helped the Ohio Wesleyan men’s basketball team maintain its position as a North Coast Athletic Conference championship contender despite losing All-American wing Tim Brady ’12 after last season.
Coach Mike DeWitt said Winters and the rest of the team had to become more balanced after Brady left.
“Last year Andy had a lot of assists to Tim,” DeWitt said.
Winters said with Brady gone, the team decided it was going to have to distribute scoring responsibilities among more players and “everyone was going to have to step up.”
Last season, Brady and Winters were the only two players who averaged at least 10 points per game. This season, Winters, junior guard Taylor Reiger and senior post Marshall Morris have averaged at least 10 points per game.
Winters’ passing ability has helped make this balanced offense possible. Going into Wednesday’s game against Wabash, Winters was leading the NCAC in assists with 7.1 per game, far ahead of the second-place figure of 4.5 per game. Winters’ assist mark is up from an average of 5.5 per game last season.
Despite the increase in assists per game, Winters said he worked the most on his shooting during the offseason. Winters said he specifically worked on his pull-up jumpers from around the rim and midrange.
The results of his shooting work are also showing on the court, as he is averaging 1.5 more points per game than a season ago, while shooting slightly more efficiently.
DeWitt said that the award of Conference Player of the Year is up for grabs, but Winters is definitely a strong candidate.
“It’d be significant for a point guard to win the conference MVP because it usually goes to a higher scorer,” DeWitt said.
Last year, Brady won the award averaging 22.5 points per game.
DeWitt said the team is still taking things one game at a time to avoid getting ahead of itself.
Winters added they cannot overlook a team at this point in the season because that is when they can get upset.
After Ohio Wesleyan’s 79-64 win over Wabash on Wednesday, the Bishops have clinched the No. 2 seed in the NCAC tournament.
The men will finish the regular season on Saturday at Denison before starting the conference tournament next week.