I spent a big part of my day Monday working on today’s KCAC previews for men’s and women’s teams, which you can find on that link. Go ahead and go there, I’ll wait … okay you’re back, and let me tell you that the most interesting thing I saw Monday was something that nobody else will get to see until 2009-2010. That is, men’s coach Dale Faber and Friends have a 7-footer strolling around campus in Zakary Van Looy.
I’d heard rumors of a giant kid walking around campus, and surprise, surprise, his name never came up at KCAC media day. I got to watch him practice for about 15 minutes, just warming up stuff, but … he’s 7-feet tall. And he can move well. Faber said he’s been causing havoc at practices, and I can understand why. He’s ineligible to play this year because he didn’t meet NAIA academic requirements, but the Marysville, Mich., product is on pace for next year. And it was nice to pick Faber’s brain for our interview, I’m sure he didn’t think he was going to end up answering questions about his mid-90s Carroll teams, but hey, you don’t think I ask Coach Eck about his old South squads? For all the geezers that talk about CL basketball and the golden days of the mid-to-late 1970s … the 90s weren’t bad either, fellas. I took a look at the 1995 1st team all-City squad, and they all played Division I basketball. That ain’t bad. It’s not Antoine Carr and Aubrey Sherrod, but it’s not too shabby.
Faber’s cupboard isn’t bare, but I think this year is going to be a real test for him. He had some recruits fall through, and I don’t know that making it back to the national tournament (where they’ve made it three times in the last four years) is realistic. But he’s a good coach and I think finishing in the middle of the pack up, wiht as little experience as they have would be an accomplishment. Oh, and he also said he reads this blog, so thanks, coach. On the women’s side, I have to say that finally getting a look at Friends’ women’s team made me think they might be ok this year. I’ve said before I thought this was a make-or-break year for coach Gayla Soyez, and she has a nice recruiting class and a solid group back. They’ve got good size and speed, and some youngsters who will be in the rotation will have to go through some growing pains but I think that by the time KCAC play gets into swing they’ll be fine.
For the rest of the KCAC … I’ve already mentioned numerous times how good I think the Sterling women are going to be, and that Ashley Kraft is a player of the year candidate. If you want a hot ticket this winter head to WInfield on Jan. 10 when the Warriors take on The Jinx. The men’s game will be merely a side note in this one, trust me. I was there last year and it was off the chain.
This weekend I’ve got a couple of football games I’ll possibly hit – Friends-Bethel in North Newton on Saturday (I hope) and then Butler-GCCC in the first round of the Region VI playoffs in El Dorado on Sunday. Like I said before, if you see me I’ll definitely share my popcorn with you.