William Penn Basketball Preview

William Penn University Athletics

2010-2011 William Penn Men’s Basketball Preview

2009-2010 record: 22-11 (9-7 MCC, T-5th)
Starters returning/lost: 0/5
Letterwinners returning/lost: 2/13

Notable returners:
Nick Coffey Sr. Hinsdale, Ill.
(6.1 points/game, 3.2 rebounds/game)
Deon Bergeron Sr. Lake Charles, La.
(Played in 26 games)

Notable losses:
Kris Miller
(Two-time All-American)
Jesse DeGeest
(Four-year letterwinner)
Joel Stout
(Four-year letterwinner)
Caleb Stout
(Three-year letterwinner)

Notable newcomers:
Alan Douglas Jr. Champaign, Ill.
Huzie Hambrite Jr. Indianapolis, Ind.
Frank Scheltinga So. Brazil
Blake Walker Fr. Smyrna, Ga.

The Statesmen basketball team has more new faces than you can shake a stick at as Penn enters 2010-2011 looking to return to the league dominance.

Penn finished 22-11 a year ago (9-7 MCC), but only three letterwinners return to bolster the squad with experience. Head Coach John Henry does have several individuals who redshirted or played on the junior varsity team a year ago so it is not as if the team is void of players who know the system. That begin said, with only 7.1% of last year’s scoring returning, the Statesmen will have quite an uphill battle entering this winter.

“We had loads of experience with lots of seniors last year,” Henry said. “It was very fulfilling to see them go out with 22 wins and push so hard to get to the tournament finals.”

“This past offseason was different than in the past because we had so many question marks,” Henry added. “It has been very interesting to see who will fit where. Our recruiting class was strong and I feel good about the types of players we added to the program. We certainly filled holes left from last year’s graduating class.”

Point Guard

Penn is heavy on returning talent at point guard with 2009-2010 redshirts A.J. Rogers (So., Patoka, Ind., Princeton HS), Trae Hill (So., St. Louis, Mo., McCluer HS), and Jumahl Depriest (Jr., Arlington, Tenn., Southwestern CC) battling for time.

“A.J. is a very heady player who makes few mistakes,” Henry said. “Jumahl and Trae are both very quick and their athleticism will earn them a chance at playing time.”

Newcomer Huzie Hambrite (Jr., Indianapolis, Ind., Ball State) enters as a very heralded recruit and will give the aforementioned trio quite a challenge.

“Huzie is a dynamic talent and is possibly the best point guard we have ever had here,” Henry said. “If things work out properly for Huzie, we will all remember his catchy name.”


The team’s top returning letterwinners, Nick Coffey (Sr., Hinsdale, Ill., Hinsdale HS) and Deon Bergeron (Sr., Lake Charles, La., Lake Charles HS), are back on the hardwood for their final seasons.

Coffey averaged 6.1 points, while Bergeron played in 26 contests off the bench.

“Nick and Deon are both fifth-year senior captains,” Henry said. “They have developed in time here and we are pleased with their progression and are excited for their senior years. Their leadership is really going to be needed this year.”

Blake Walker (Fr., Smyrna, Ga., Campbell HS) and Alan Douglas (Jr., Champaign, Ill., Lakeland CC), redshirts from a year ago, are two of the team’s best options at the wing.

“Blake is one of the most talented high school players we have brought here,” Henry said. “He reminds me a lot of (former Penn great) Ryan Norman but bigger. He is athletically off the charts and does things you cannot teach.”

“Alan is our emotional team leader and can play a lot of different positions,” Henry said. “He is very tenacious on both ends of the court.”

Returner Boris Bobic (Sr., Serbia, Lakeland CC) and new faces Wiebe Goodyk (So., Oskaloosa, Iowa Central CC), Brandon Beasley (Jr., Indianapolis, Ind., Columbus State CC), and Adam Hodge (Jr., South Elgin, Ill., Rock Valley CC) will also fight for minutes.

“Boris played on JV last year and we are looking for him to help with our perimeter shooting,” Henry said. “We targeted Weibe when he was at Oskaloosa HS and we are thrilled to have him back home.”

“Brandon is coming off knee surgery and will be good after the holiday break,” Henry said. He is a slasher who has the ability to score. Adam is a scrappy, tough player. He will be utilized for his versatility.”


Talented Ryan Wilson (Sr., Ballwin, Mo., Ballwin HS) is back in the navy and gold and will lead the front court. Ross Howe (Fr., State Center, West Marshall HS), another redshirt from last season, and newcomer Frank Scheltinga (So., Brazil, Southwestern CC) will also push Wilson for time.

Wilson made appearances in four games last winter.

“Ryan is one of the most versatile post players we have had here and we think he is finally read to have a good year,” Henry said. “Ross is a tenacious worker and will give Ryan a run for the slot. Frank is an enormous young man. We are uncertain if he will be able to play this year due to past injuries, but at 6-9, 260 pounds, he is extremely large and will be a presence down low.”

Although we have very few returning letterwinners, Walker, Douglas, Howe, Depriest, and Rogers all redshirted together and practiced with the varsity so they are by no means brand new to the system,” Henry said. “Their experience will help us, especially in preseason practices, so we do not have re-teach everything.”


The Statesmen begin their season on November 5 by hosting Crossroads (Minn.). The non-conference slate will be highlighted by two games at the Hastings (Neb.) Classic during Thanksgiving weekend and a matchup with NAIA preseason #3 Bellevue (Neb.) on December 8.

“This is a tough schedule,” Henry said. “With playing Hastings twice, and taking on Bellevue, Dordt, and other power NAIA programs, I think it will help us gain experience get tough for the always difficult MCC slate.”


St. Ambrose has been picked by the league’s coaches to win the regular season crown this year, but Henry does not see it being a runaway.

“This should be a very wide-open MCC race,” Henry said. “I do not think there are any clear-cut favorites, but if I were pressed to give one, I would say St. Ambrose with Grand View and Mount Mercy right behind them. We should be in that mix as well. Anybody can and likely will beat anyone on any given night.”

“With our lack of experience, we could surprise a lot of people,” Henry said. “I like the way we have prepared to this point and I look forward to the season.”

2010-2011 William Penn Women’s Basketball Preview

2009-2010 record: 17-14 (9-7 MCC, 5th)
Starters returning/lost: 4/1
Letterwinners returning/lost: 9/10

Notable returners:
Christa Subbert Sr. Stanton
(16.8 points/game, 5.9 rebounds/game)
Samantha Darley Sr. Gilbert, Ariz.
(10.3 points/game)
Rachel Butler Sr. Orange County, Calif.
(7.5 points/game, 5.1 rebounds/game)
Ashton Perez Sr. Wildomar, Calif.
(3.6 points/game, 4.2 rebounds/game)

Notable losses:
Chandra Melaragno
(Four-time letterwinner)
Nancy Chicas
(Two-year letterwinner)

Notable newcomers:
Arielle McClellan Jr. Fontana, Calif.
Christie Menard Sr. Rancho Cucamunga, Calif.
Leilani Tuani-Fifita Fr. Kapolei, Hawaii

Several key members of last year’s team return to guide a new-look system as the Penn women’s basketball program seeks league success in 2010-2011.

The Lady Statesmen are returning from a solid season in which it went 17-14 overall and 9-7 in the Midwest Collegiate Conference. It was the program’s first winning campaign since 1993-1994, while the 17 victories are the most since 1989-1990. Also, for the second year in a row, Christa Subbert (Sr., Stanton, Stanton HS) was honored as one of the top players in the nation, earning NAIA Honorable-Mention All-America status.

“Last year was a good year for us,” Lady Statesmen Head Coach Brian Spielbauer said. “It was a step in the right direction. With lots of our ladies back, headed by Christa Subbert, we are definitely excited for this season.”

“We had a good recruiting year and filled some needs,” Spielbauer said. “There are some freshmen and transfers that can provide big minutes and fight for starts and we filled a big hole in the post.”

Point Guard

As the preseason progresses, three returners have taken the reins at the point guard position and will give Penn much-needed experience.

Returning letterwinners Jacelynn Smith (Sr., Tucson, Ariz., Cienega HS) and Sarah Martin (So., Anthem, Ariz., Boulder Creek HS) are expected to share time with 2009-2010 redshirt Randi Olson (Jr., Federal Way, Wash., Skyline CC).

Smith played in nine games a year ago, while Martin saw action in seven contests.

“These three young women will handle most of the point guard duties,” Spielbauer said. “They are capable with the ball and they can apply pressure to the opposing ball-handler. This is a very quick group.”

Shooting Guard

Subbert headlines the shooting guard slot that is projected to put up big numbers on the wing. The senior averaged 16.8 points a year ago and enters her final year eighth on the career scoring list with a legitimate chance of becoming the school’s all-time leading scorer.

“Christa is the best player we have had in my tenure and I expect her to be a major presence this year,” Spielbauer said.

Samantha Darley (Sr., Gilbert, Ariz., Mesa CC) will serve as a wonderful complement to Subbert, coming off a junior year where she averaged 10.3 points per contest.

“Sam is a very good shooter and is an all-around great player,” Spielbauer said.

Arielle McClellan (Jr., Fontana, Calif., Chaffey CC) will give the returners a strong challenge for the starting spot in her first year in the navy and gold.

“Arielle is also a good shooter and is maybe even better taking the ball off the dribble,” Spielbauer said. “She is also a bit more athletic than Christa and Sam, so with this trio, we look for a lot of scoring out of this position.”

Small Forward

Carleigh Hobson (Sr., Lancaster, Calif., Antelope Valley CC) is the frontrunner at the small forward position, but she also has no guarantee of starting.

Hobson averaged 5.2 points, mostly off the bench.

Returner Jodee Seward (So., Wellman, Mid-Prairie HS) and newcomers Shaulanda Benally (Jr., Phoenix, Ariz., South Mountain CC) and Megan Evangelista (Fr., Chanhassen, Minn., Chaska HS) will push for time as well.

“Carleigh and Shaulanda are stronger, bigger players,” Spielbauer said. “They are skilled and are good outside shooters. They can be very physical as well.”

“Megan and Jodee are more like shooting guards,” Spielbauer said. “They are better shooters and quicker. Both have great futures ahead of them. With this variety, we feel comfortable that we can have success in any situation.”

Power Forward

Rachel Butler (Sr., Orange County, Calif., Cerritos CC) was one of the more dominant post players in the league last season and will be looked upon for big numbers and strong leadership in her final collegiate campaign.

Butler averaged 7.5 points and was second on the team with a 5.1 rebounding clip.

“Rachel is extremely athletic and is very strong in transition,” Spielbauer said.

Fellow returners Ashton Perez (Sr., Wildomar, Calif., Riverside CC) and Patricia O’Neill (Sr., Oakhurst, Calif., Merced CC) will fight for time alongside 2009-2010 redshirt Orielle Thomas (Fr., Waynesville, Mo., Waynesville HS).

Perez averaged 3.6 points and 4.2 rebounds, while O’Neill appeared in seven games last year.

“Ashton is a tough, hard-nosed player who does a lot of dirty work for us,” Spielbauer said. “Trish has a good outside shooting touch and is physical. Orielle is someone to watch. She is extremely athletic and skilled. She is so versatile that we could probably play her anywhere from the 2 position to the 5. She is really difficult to handle.”


April Wilbur (Sr., Rosamond, Calif., Antelope Valley CC) saw time in all of Penn’s games a year ago and her experience will be invaluable this winter.

Leilani Tuani-Fifita (Fr., Kapolei, Hawaii, Kapolei HS) will battle with Wilbur for the start in her first Lady Statesmen season.

“Both of these young ladies are hard workers,” Spielbauer said. “April is a great defensive player and moves well. Leilani is maybe a bit more offensively-gifted. She is a presence inside and gets down the court well.”


Penn opens the season on November 1 with a road game at Graceland and the slate does not get any easier from there. The Lady Statesmen play in a pair of tournaments, including facing NAIA Division II defending champion Northwestern on November 27. The other tournament takes the team to Utah for a pre-Christmas tournament hosted by Dixie State.

“This is a difficult non-conference schedule,” Spielbauer said. “It is a good balance of home and away games. We face two NCAA Division II teams and play in two very strong tournaments. Hopefully this preseason schedule gets us ready for the league season.”


Spielbauer expects Grand View (#8 preseason) and St. Ambrose (#25 preseason) to be the favorites in the MCC, but sees his team as a darkhorse that will be grouped in with several other schools, including Iowa Wesleyan (#12 preseason), that will fight for the third spot in the league.

“Grand View and Iowa Wesleyan reached the national quarterfinals last year and should both be very strong again,” Spielbauer said. “St. Ambrose and Mount Mercy will be very good as well. We should definitely be in there trying to win the MCC title.”

“We are going to push the ball up and down the floor this year,” Spielbauer added. “We hope to put up a lot of points and should be fun to watch.”

Wade Steinlage

Posted by on Oct 30 2010. Filed under Sports and Activities. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Responses are currently closed, but you can trackback from your own site.

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