PREVIEW: Ferris State Men's Basketball Tips Off 2013-14 Season At Lewis On Wednesday

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This Week:
 The Ferris State men's basketball team officially opens its 2013-14 campaign on the road with a non-league regional matchup against the Lewis (Ill.) Flyers on Wednesday (Nov. 20) night at Neil Carey Arena in Romeoville, Ill. Tipoff is set for 8:30 p.m. (ET).

Media Coverage: Wednesday's game will be broadcast locally by Sunny 97.3 FM and the Bulldog Sports Network starting with the Meijer Pregame Show a half-hour prior to tipoff at 8 p.m. (ET).  Rob Bentley will call the action from Neil Carey Arena. A live audio broadcast will be accessible online. Lewis will also offer live internet statistics and a pay-per-view video webcast.  For a full listing of links, please visit FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

Follow On Twitter/Facebook: In addition to internet coverage, Bulldog fans can also follow all games this season via Twitter and Facebook with updates. Please visit www.facebook.com/FerrisMBasketball or www.twitter.com/FerrisMBBALL to follow the periodic posts and tweet-by-tweet coverage with scoring updates.

New Head Coach: Wednesday night's game will mark the official regular-season debut for first-year Ferris State head coach Andy Bronkema, who was elevated to the position after six years as an assistant coach under former Bulldog head coach Bill Sall in July.  

Last year: Last season, with Bronkema as the Bulldogs' top assistant, Ferris State wrapped up the 2012-13 season with a 14-13 overall record and the Bulldogs reached the GLIAC Postseason Tournament for the eighth time in the last nine years, which ranks as one of the conference's top showings over the past decade.

The Records: Ferris State (0-0, 0-0 GLIAC) will open its season against Lewis in Romeoville, Ill. The Bulldogs are coming off a 14-13 overall mark a year ago. The contest is the first of three games for the Bulldogs this week.
   
Lewis (1-0, 0-0 GLVC) opened its 2013-14 season at home with a 79-64 win over Olivet Nazarene last Monday (Nov. 11) night in Romeoville. The Flyers narrowly missed receiving a berth in the NCAA Tournament a year ago despite winning 19 games, which was the program's most since 2007-08.

The Coaches: Ferris State – Andy Bronkema (Cornerstone), 1st season, 0-0 (.000) - (0-0 vs. Lewis).  Bronkema takes over the Bulldog program this season following six years as an assistant coach, including the last three as the program's top assistant. A collegiate standout at NAIA Division II Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Mich., Bronkema was voted All-Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference (WHAC) three times and twice garnered NAIA Honorable Mention All-America laurels. He was a multi-sport prep standout at McBain (Mich.) High School.
   
Lewis – Scott Trost, (Minnesota-Morris, 1985), 8th season at Lewis, 122-83 (.595), 17th season overall, 275-169 (.619). Prior to arriving at Lewis, Trost enjoyed a highly successful tenure at Illinois Wesleyan, leading the club to three-straight league titles and four consecutive NCAA-III Tourney bids. He also served four seasons as head coach at Elmhurst and was an assistant at the University of Michigan.

The Exhibition Season: The Bulldogs have played three exhibition games in the preseason along with holding an alumni contest. FSU won its first preseason tilt over Madonna by a 97-92 score (Oct. 24) before falling to Davenport 89-81 (Oct. 28) at Jim Wink Arena. Both teams were listed among the nation's top 20 in the NAIA preseason rankings. After being a strong group of former players in a high-scoring 129-89 alumni contest (Nov. 2), the Bulldogs wrapped up the exhibition slate with an impressive 85-70 road win at Calvin (Nov. 7).

Coming Up Next: Ferris State will face another big challenge this weekend as the Bulldogs venture to Minnesota for a tournament at Winona State. FSU will face the hosts on Saturday (Nov. 23) at 4 p.m. (ET) followed by a matchup with Concordia-St. Paul on Sunday (Nov. 24) at 2 p.m. (ET).

Bulldog Overview: Three starters are back for the Bulldogs, who are coming off their eighth appearance in the conference tournament in the last nine seasons. Junior guard Drew Lehman is the leading returning scorer after averaging 13.1 points per game last season. He hit 30 3-pointers and dished out 64 assists. Junior guard Dietrich Lever averaged 10.0 ppg and knocked down 27 treys. He also tallied 34 steals. The other returning starter is sophomore center Jared Stolicker, who averaged 5.6 points per outing and blocked 41 shots. Six letterwinners are also back for FSU in forward Raymoan McAfee, wing Milton Cribbs, guard Jibreel Jackson, forward Josh Fleming, wing Matt Sinnaeve and forward Dan Chilcote. Besides McAfee, who's the team's lone senior, the other five players are sophomores.

Noteworthy: The Bulldogs have reached the GLIAC tournament five consecutive years and have more conference wins (42) than any other school in the GLIAC North Division in the last three years.

Bulldog Success: In head coach Andy Bronkema's first year as the program's top assistant in 2010-11, the Bulldogs won the GLIAC North Division Championship and reached the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen. FSU followed up the memorable campaign by winning a share of a second-straight GLIAC North Division crown in 2011-12. The Bulldogs have made five-straight league tournament berths to date in Bronkema's tenure as an assistant coach.

Track Record: First-year head coach Andy Bronkema takes over a Ferris State program with a long track record of success that includes more than 1,000 all-time victories, 13 GLIAC Championships and nine NCAA Tournament appearances entering the 2013-14 season. FSU also posted an impressive 10-1 mark at home in league regular-season action during the 2012-13 season at Jim Wink Arena.

New Assistant Coach: A familiar face will serve as Ferris State men's basketball head coach Andy Bronkema's top assistant coach for his first campaign at the Bulldog helm in 2013-14 as Jim Lake was appointed this summer to FSU's full-time assistant coaching post. The 37-year old Lake has served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Bulldogs in two different stints over the last decade, from 2003-06 and again from 2011-13. He also has been an AAU coach for the Grand Rapids Storm and a prep head coach.

Scouting Lewis: The Flyers will feature one of the Great Lakes Valley Conference's (GLVC) youngest teams this season with only one senior. However, 11 letterwinners are back for head coach Scott Trost off a team that won 19 games and nearly reached the NCAA Tournament. Eight of the returnees averaged at least 13 minutes per contest a year ago.

FSU vs. Lewis: Ferris State and Lewis will square off for the 15th time Wednesday with the Flyers holding a 10-4 series' advantage. Lewis has won 10 of the last 13 encounters to date, including a 60-47 win a year ago (11/17/13) at FSU's Jim Wink Arena. Ferris State's last series' victory was a 64-61 decision to start a memorable 2010-11 Sweet Sixteen run (11/20/10) at Wink Arena.  The Flyers recorded a narrow 65-60 win in 2009 at Neil Carey Arena (11/15/09) along with a 62-44 in 2011 (11/19/11) in Romeoville.

Fifth Year In A Row: This year marks the fifth consecutive campaign in which the Bulldogs and Flyers have faced each other during the month of November in non-league action. The Flyers have won three of the four previous matchups with FSU's lone victory in the stretch coming during a historic 2010-11 campaign.
 
GLIAC Preseason Poll: Ferris State was picked to finish fourth in the 2013-14 GLIAC North Division Preseason Coaches Poll announced by the league office. Wayne State claimed top honors in the North Division with Grand Valley State listed second and Michigan Tech third. Findlay was tabbed as the South Division favorite.

Preseason All-GLIAC: Ferris State junior guard Drew Lehman (Toledo, Ohio/Central Catholic) was tabbed as a preseason All-GLIAC Second Team honoree as announced by the league office.

Bulldog Outlook:  The Bulldog men's basketball team welcomes back eight letterwinners from last year's squad. The Bulldogs made their 14th all-time GLIAC Tournament berth last year, including the program's fifth-straight conference tournament appearance. Overall, Ferris State has won four league titles and made three trips to the NCAA Tournament in the last decade. The Bulldogs were chosen fourth in this season's GLIAC North Preseason Poll.

Chicago Connection: The Bulldogs have five players from the state of Illinois and the Chicago area on their 2013-14 roster, including two sophomore returnees in guard Jibreel Jackson (Chicago/Curie) along with forward Josh Fleming (Carol Stream, Ill./Glenbard North).  The other three are newcomers and include freshman wing Robert Hudson (Schaumburg, Ill./J.B. Conant), rookie guard Kyle Oden (Country Club Hills, Ill./Hillcrest) along with sophomore wing Jayone Troutman (Chicago/Hillcrest), who began his collegiate career last year at NCAA Division II Southwest Baptist (Mo.).

The Bulldog Roster: Ferris' 2013-14 roster includes one senior, five juniors, seven sophomores and two freshmen. Nine of the 15 players on the Bulldogs' roster hail from Michigan withfive from Illinois and one from Ohio.  The bulk of the Bulldogs' lineup consists of wing-type players.

Bulldog Notes: Ferris State has posted 41 winning campaigns and 47 non-losing seasons in its more than 80 seasons of competition.

GLIAC Opener: FSU will open its quest for a GLIAC Championship at home on Thursday, Dec. 5, as FSU hosts Lake Erie in a league twinbill at Wink Arena.  The game against the Storm will represent the first official regular-season home contest for the Bulldogs this season. 

Successful Season: Ferris State's last divisional title came two years ago (2011-12) and was FSU's second-straight and fourth in the past decade. FSU also won back-to-back GLIAC North crowns in 2003-04 and 2004-05.  The Bulldogs' 24 victories in 2010-11 were the program's most since reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen with a 24-7 mark in 2004-05 and the Bulldogs' 16 league regular-season wins tied for the most in school history along with the perfect 16-0 GLIAC record recorded in 1988-89.

Home Court Edge: Ferris State, which owned a 10-1 league mark at home in 2012-13, currently has won 36 of its last 45 games at Wink Arena dating back to the 2009-10 campaign.

Toledo Connection: Junior guard Drew Lehman (Toledo/Central Catholic) is the Bulldogs' first player from Toledo since former standout point guard Dennis Springs, who led FSU to back-to-back GLIAC titles and NCAA Tournament berths during his Ferris State career from 2002-06.

Youth Served: The Bulldogs have nine freshmen or sophomores on the roster this season.  Ferris State had one of the nation's youngest teams and largest rookie classes in 2007-08 with nine freshmen.  Four of those freshmen became four-year letterwinners and led FSU to the NCAA-II Sweet Sixteen in 2010-11 including Justin Keenan, Darien Gay, Matt DeHart and Lou Williams.

FSU History: Ferris State's impressive basketball tradition includes 13 GLIAC titles, nine NCAA Division II Tournament appearances and a berth in the 1988 NCAA-II Elite Eight. Ferris, which last won the GLIAC Tournament championship during the 1997-98 campaign, captured a then league record four consecutive conference titles from 1986-90.

Historic Campaign: Ferris State concluded the 2010-11 season by reaching the NCAA Division II Sweet Sixteen and the Midwest Regional Championship Game in Louisville, Ky.  The Bulldogs also won the GLIAC North Division Championship and hosted the GLIAC Tournament Semifinals/Finals in 2010-11 while finishing with a 24-8 overall record.  FSU had to replace four key starters last campaign from a team that fell to eventual D2 national champion Bellarmine in the regional finals, but still managed to win a share of a second-straight league crown in 2011-12.

Change Of Fortune: Ferris suffered five-straight losing seasons from 1998-99 to 2002-03, but has since captured four GLIAC North Division titles, made nine GLIAC Tournament appearances, advanced to three NCAA-II Tournaments and claimed two conference tournament runner-up finishes over the last 11 seasons.

First Home Games: Ferris State's first home games of the 2013-14 season will also mark the Bulldogs' first GLIAC contests as FSU hosts Lake Erie and Ashland on Dec. 5 and Dec. 7, respectively, at Wink Arena.

About Ferris State: Ferris State University is a NCAA Division II school located in Big Rapids, Mich., with an enrollment of 14,707. The Bulldogs are a member of the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (GLIAC). Big Rapids is located in West Michigan approximately 60 miles north of Grand Rapids or 40 miles west of Mount Pleasant, Mich.  FSU also plays NCAA Division I men's ice hockey in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) and reached the 2012 NCAA Frozen Four along with the national championship game.

The Coaching Staff: In addition to full-time assistant coach Jim Lake, FSU's Andy Bronkema also has a pair of other familiar faces serving as assistants on his first staff in Bill Killian and student assistant Daniel Sutherlin. A FSU professor, Killian has been involved with the program for the last 11 years in his second stint and his association with Ferris basketball dates back to the late 1980's. Sutherlin was a four-year regular in the Bulldog lineup and wrapped up his collegiate career last season. In addition, Jordan Sweeney is serving as a volunteer assistant for the first time this season.

Sunny 97.3: Wednesday's game continues the broadcast partnership between FSU Athletics and Sunny 97.3 FM.  Rob Bentley will call the action starting with the "Bulldog Pregame" show at 8 p.m.  Sunny 97.3 and the Bulldog Sports Network will again carry a majority of the home and away basketball contests this campaign with the broadcasts streamed live online at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

Bulldog Sports Network: Fans can follow all the action of Ferris State Basketball live online via the Bulldog Sports Network multimedia portal again this season.  A live audio and video pay-per-view webcast in HD will be offered for nearly all home games with free audio for road contests.  The package also includes live stats, live chat and a live blog at select times. Visit www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com for more info.

Home Ticket Information: Single-game tickets for the 2013-14 home campaign are currently on sale now.  Fans are encouraged to buy tickets in advance this season. For more info on ticket sales, please contact the FSU Athletics Ticket Office at (231) 591-2888 or visit www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

More Media Coverage: Ferris State Basketball will be featured throughout the year as part of the "Bulldog Sports Update", which will air Monday thru Friday at 7:30 a.m. (ET) on Sunny 97.3 FM.  Additionally, head coach Andy Bronkema and selected student-athletes will make periodic weekly appearances during the season on the Ferris Sports Update TV show, which is available across Northern Michigan on Fox 32 along with Comcast Xfinitiy in Michigan and other sources, including online at FerrisStateBulldogs.com.

Live Internet Stats: "Live Stats" of all 2013-14 Ferris State games will be provided in progress via the internet. Visit the site at www.FerrisStateBulldogs.com and click the "Live Stats" icon to access.

Alumni Success: Several former Bulldog standouts have had an opportunity to compete at the professional level in the past decade on the hardwood.  Among others, former standout point guard Dennis Springs spent time overseas before playing professionally in the International Basketball League (IBL) with the Holland Blast. In addition, former forward Terrance Shaw has ranked among the IBL's top scoring leaders for several seasons while playing with several different teams.

Meanwhile, All-America forward Justin Keenan, who earned Division II National Player of the Year honors in 2010-11, is now in his third season as a standout professional overseas and playing in Argentina's top professional league while another former Bulldog, guard Kenny Brown, received several NBA tryouts prior to and following this year's NBA Draft after wrapping up his FSU career last season. Recent Bulldog forward Jerrell Sanders is currently midst his first professional hoops season overseas in Germany with the BG Bonn Meckenheim club in one of the country's top leagues.

A Quick Look At The Bulldogs:

The Newcomers:

#0 Robert Hudson: The 6-5 Hudson is coming off a strong senior campaign at J B Conant High School in Hoffman Estates, Ill. He led his squad to the championship game of the Jack Tosh Holiday Classic along with an appearance in the regional finals for the second-straight year while claiming all-conference along with league all-academic accolades under head coach Tom McCormack.

#5 James Chappell: Chappell saw action in 30 games for Oakland Community College in 2012-13 and tallied 11.3 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.4 assists per contest.  He shot nearly 50% from the floor and 54% behind the three-point stripe while starting all 30 contests for head coach Antoine Joubert's team. Chappell was an all-tournament team selected as Oakland CC reached the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) District 10 title contest. 

#24 Matt Poches: A native of Hartland, Mich., Poches made one start in 2012-13 for Oakland University and played in 31 games. The 6-foot-4 guard averaged 8.8 minutes and 2.3 points per game. Poches played in 20 games as a freshman, making one start, tallying eight assists, seven points and 15 rebounds during the 2011-12 season. A two-sport standout in football and basketball at the prep level, Poches was a Detroit News Dream Team honoree as a prep senior. 

#30 Jayone Troutman: The 6-5 Troutman appeared in all 26 games at Southwest Baptist last season and made 16 starts while averaging 4.6 points and 3.0 rebounds per contest.  He shot 51.5% from the floor and averaged nearly 18 minutes per game while ranking among the team leaders with 17 steals and 13 blocked shots. Troutman previously played under head coach Don Houston on the prep level at Illinois' Hillcrest High School while leading the Hawks to a regional championship and a berth in the state semifinals.  As a prep senior, he averaged 12 points and eight rebounds along with four steals per game while posting five double-double efforts.

#54 Kyle Oden: Oden prepped at Hillcrest High School under Don Houston while playing club basketball for the Illinois Crush.  The 5-10 point guard helped lead the Hawks to their 25th consecutive conference championship as a senior in 2012-13.  He averaged 12 points and six assists per game in his final campaign after totaling nearly seven points and four assists a contest for one of the state's top prep powers as a junior. 

The Returnees:

# 1 Dietrich Lever: A two-year veteran, Lever played in all 27 games a year ago and averaged 10.0 points per game. He also dished out a squad-best 2.9 assists per game while shooting 44.3% from three-point range. From Detroit - Canton High School

#2 Milton Cribbs: Played in 19 games as a redshirt freshman last season while averaging 1.6 points per game. He previously redshirted during the 2011-12 campaign. From Detroit – Inkster High School

#3 Josh Fleming: Saw action in 22 contests as a freshman a year ago and tallied 4.1 points along with 2.2 rebounds per game. He shot 51% from the floor. From Carol Stream, Ill. – Glenbard North High School

#4 Jibreel Jackson: Appeared in all 27 games as a reserve in his freshman campaign last season. The point guard averaged 4.2 points along with 1.7 rebounds an outing. From Chicago – Curie High School

#20 Jared Stolicker: Started 19 games a year ago after redshirting in 2011-12. He played in all 27 outings and tallied 5.6 points along with 5.6 rebounds a game. From Middleville – Thornapple-Kellogg High School

#21 Drew Lehman: Two-year letterwinner who started all 27 contests last season. Ranked as the team's second-leading scorer at 13.1 points per game. He also averaged 3.6 rebounds a contest. From Toledo – Central Catholic High School

#22 Matt Sinnaeve: Appeared in five games as a reserve during the 2012-13 season. From Gwinn – Gwinn High School.

#32 Dan Chilcote: Missed all of the 2012-13 season after suffering a season-ending injury in his initial Bulldog campaign two years ago. From Jackson – Lumen Christi High School

#34 Matt Stoll: Redshirted during the 2012-13 campaign following two seasons as a player on the junior college level at Muskegon Community College. From Kent City – Kent City High School

#44 Raymoan McAfee: Appeared in 21 games and tallied two points and two rebounds a contest last year in his initial season with the Bulldogs. From Detroit – Pershing High School

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