BOWLING GREEN — The Bowling Green State University men’s basketball team is dealing with the departure of four seniors, players who combined to score better than half of the team’s points last season.
Falcons coach Louis Orr, a “glass-half-full” kind of guy, sees the departure of the team’s two double-digit scorers not as a drag on the offense, but as an opportunity for new players to step up.
“Players want to have the opportunity, the chance to take shots and make plays,” said Orr, who is in his seventh season at BG. “Balance, to me, is the best way to play.
“I believe we have seven or eight guys who are capable of scoring in double figures on any given night.”
Last season BG finished 13-19 overall and was 7-9 in Mid-American Conference play, finishing as the sixth seed in the conference tournament. Among those gone are forward A’uston Calhoun, an All-MAC second team choice who averaged 15.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and guard Jordon Crawford, who added 15.0 points and 4.3 assists per contest.
While two starters and eight lettermen return, the Falcons were picked to finish sixth in the MAC East this season.
“I’ve been doing this for a long time, and that [prediction] really doesn’t affect me,” said Orr, who is in the final year of his current contract. “At the end of the day, and at the beginning of the day and the middle of the day, it comes down to what you do on the court.
“Predictions are guesses of a sort, and you can’t let them dictate what you do. We expect more — our expectations are much higher — and you can’t allow another person to dictate what your expectations are.”
The team’s leading returning scorer is junior Chauncey Orr, the coach’s son. Last season the younger Orr averaged 7.5 points and 3.7 rebounds per game, and this year he will see action at both small forward and shooting guard.
“He’s got enough size to battle guys at the ‘3’ and he has enough mobility and movement to stretch the defense while playing the ‘2,’” Louis Orr said of his son.
The other returning starter is senior center Cameron Black, who last year contributed 3.4 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
“He’s got more to give,” Orr said of Black. “It’s his senior year, and it’s his time.
“I think he’s one of the best post defenders in the MAC, and one of the best help defenders. He’s really skilled, and he’s been more aggressive.”
The team’s other senior, forward Craig Sealey, is recovering from offseason knee surgery. Currently there is no timetable for his return, and the possibility exists that Sealey may redshirt this season.
“He hasn’t been able to practice at all,” Orr said of Sealey. “We’ll go step-by-step with him to get him healthy, and we’ll see where he is from there.”
One player who may step forward is junior Richaun Holmes. Last year Holmes averaged 6.5 points and 5.0 rebounds per game while setting the school’s single-season record with 73 blocked shots.
“Richaun is a long shot-blocker who uses his athleticism and his lift to block shots,” Orr said. “He’s gotten stronger physically, and his stamina has improved.”
On the perimeter junior Anthony Henderson, a Start High School product who averaged 3.5 points per game in a reserve role, and sophomore Spencer Parker, who showed scoring ability in limited action, will have the opportunity to shoulder the scoring load on the perimeter.
“We have some flexibility there, and that allows us to play different combinations and do different things,” Orr said.
At the point guard spot junior Jehvon Clarke, who spelled Crawford the past two seasons, will look to step forward while freshman J.D. Tisdale pushes for more time.
“There will be opportunities for our guys to test the waters, and to grow,” Orr said of the non-conference schedule. “And it will be a chance for me to see different combinations — and to see which guys step up.”
NOTES: Freshman Zack Denny also has been injured in the pre-season and is not expected to play early in the season. … Among the highlights of BG’s schedule are a pair of games in Cancun, Mexico, during Thanksgiving break.