Landry Long | The Echo
The Taylor men's basketball team is off to a hot 2-0 start for the 2016-17 season.
The Trojans opened up with a dominant 59-point win over Great Lakes Christian while setting a program record behind-the-arc with 20 threes. Less than a day later, the squad once again by defeating Miami - Hamilton by 22 points.
Head coach Josh Andrews believes in the potential of his team and sees that this could be his best year thus far.
"I believe this team has the opportunity to be the best team I've coached," Andrews said. "They are unselfish, care about each other and have taken great ownership of the growth process."
The Trojans rely on returning starters as well as new faces.
Junior Keaton Hendricks is averaging 17.5 points per game in the early go-around, while sophomore Evan Crowe is averaging 22, connecting nine of 15 times from behind the three-point line.
Crowe has seen his work in the off-season pay off on the court and has put more of his offensive weapons to good use.
"I am feeling more confident on the court, which is a result of the time I put into my game this offseason," Crowe said. "I believe I've added more to my offensive game where if the defense takes away my 3-point shot, I have more to offer this year with driving, finding teammates and finishing strong at the basket."
The Trojans have also received major contributions from the duo of freshmen Mason Degenkolb and Ryan Robinson. Degenkolb leads the team in scoring, averaging 24 points per game. Robinson has chipped in 10.5 per game, while also dishing out a total of 10 assists.
Degenkolb understands the transition to college ball is not always an easy one, but feels blessed to have support along the way.
"Being an incoming freshman has had its ups and downs," Degenkolb said. "Having a great group of teammates and coaches who push and support me has really helped my transition to Taylor. Along with that, my teammates have made it easy for me to have an impact because we all play for each other; everyone is unselfish so it makes playing as a team come really easy."
With Crowe and Degenkolb leading the offensive charge, Andrews knows there is much more in store for the freshman and sophomore duo.
"Degenkolb works very hard on his game and is a tremendous competitor," Andrews said. "He's a great playmaker and has the ability to make those around him better. Crowe has a picture-perfect shooting stroke, and we want to get him open looks as much as possible."
The Trojans will be in action today at Purdue - Northwest, as well as tomorrow at home against Governors State. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. for both games.
"Photo by Fayth Glock"