Nov 13, 2017

2017-18 Men's Basketball Season Preview

A Winning Tradition

  • Three NAIA National Tournaments (1973, 1990, 1992)
  • Two NAIA District Championship (1973, 1990)
  • 22 NAIA District Tournaments
  • Three NAIA Top 25 National Rankings (1990, 1991, 1992)
  • Four Northwest Conference Tournaments (1997-1998, 2009-2010, 2012-2013, 2016-17)
  • Two Cascade Conference Tournaments (1994, 1995)
  • Two NCCAA National Tournaments (1985, 1987)
  • Seven NCCAA Regional Tournaments (1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988)
  • One NCCAA National Coach of the Year
  • Three NAIA District Coaches of the Year
  • Two Northwest Conference Coaches of the Year
  • 17 All-Americans
  • Three NBA Draft Picks  

By: Alex Plusquellec

NEWBERG, Ore. --- The George Fox men's basketball team returns an experienced roster for the 2017-2018 season coming off of the team's first Northwest Conference Tournament appearance since the 2012-2013 season.

Led by seniors Johnathan Doutt and Thomas Rico, the Bruins will combine experienced players with a group of young, athletic newcomers in the hopes of making a run at a conference championship.

Head Coach Maco Hamilton expects the last two years of building to pay dividends for a Bruin team that returns four of its top six minutes leaders from a year ago. Hamilton feels good about combining the existing culture with a multitude of new skill sets.

"This is the best group of new guys we've had. The last two years have been good to establish our culture," Hamilton said.

The senior duo of Doutt and Rico will be joined by four juniors, including returning playmakers Dylan Hamlett and Mason Green-Richards. Last season, Hamlett led the Bruins in field goal percentage at 53.4% while Green-Richards ranked second in scoring, averaging 13.4 ppg.

Hamilton was effective on the recruiting trail during the offseason, bringing in five freshmen and two transfers to mesh with the current talent on the roster. Hamilton expressed his excitement to have a freshmen class with "length and athleticism," which has created a "nice mix of different players."

Freshmen Jackson Januik and JD Ahlstrom have impressed Hamilton, who is hopeful that their success at the high school level will have an impact on this year's team. Transfer Ryan Lacey, younger brother of former Bruin and 1,000-point scorer JJ Lacey, will add experience and athleticism to the guard position.

Hamilton also expressed his confidence in Doutt and Rico, noting that "they have continued to mature and their comfort level is great. They know the expectations and goals, so the bar is set."

A year ago, Rico earned himself All-NWC honorable mention honors while shooting 46.2% from three-point range and averaging 12.4 ppg. His shooting percentage from beyond the arc was the 10th best among all NCAA Division III players.

The Bruins will need to lean on the mature leadership of their two seniors as they take on some of top teams in the nation. While this year's schedule features the most home games during Hamilton's tenure, it also includes road matchups against preseason No. 1 Whitman and preseason No. 15 Claremont Mudd-Scripps, as well as games against Whitworth and Wisconsin-Oshkosh, both of which received votes in the national preseason poll.

Despite a tough schedule, the Bruins will match up with the top teams by employing an up-tempo style of basketball. Hamilton expects his team to get lots of good looks, which he feels will produce an entertaining product.

"The fans are going to see an enjoyable style. They are going to see more athleticism. We look the part."

The Bruins will open the season with an exhibition at the University of Idaho on November 13 before hosting the team's home opener against Rutgers-Newark on November 17.