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Raider Basketball Set for Big Season 

Men’s Basketball vs Green Bay | Photo by Dominic Wenrick | The Wright State Guardian

Following the 2022 season that saw a lot of development, the 2023 Wright State University men’s basketball team is set for what could be a historic season. 

The Raiders experienced many ups and downs last season with a team that was needing to establish chemistry. WSU fell in the Horizon League Quarterfinals to Green Bay by a score of 85-57. 

“You never want to see us go out like that,” WSU’s reigning Horizon League freshman of the year Brandon Noel stated. “I think every year we try to put the past behind us, and we cannot focus too much on what happened.”

Coming home

The Raiders received great news on Oct. 12 when the team learned that graduate transfer Tanner Holden remains eligible for this season. 

Holden averaged just over 20 points per contest during the 2021-22 season that propelled WSU to the NCAA tournament, where the Raiders claimed a First Four victory over Bryant. 

Following that season, Holden transferred to Ohio State and played for the Buckeyes for one season before coming back home where his collegiate journey started. 

“Tanner’s already been here, he’s considered one of us already,” Brandon Noel stated. 

With Holden’s return, WSU has a group that is very experienced with each other. 

“We have a lot of the old guys that have been together and played with each other,” WSU guard Andrew Welage added. “I think that we’re excited for that and being such an old team this year.”

Preseason polls 

The Raiders were recently selected to finish in third place in the HL behind Northern Kentucky and Milwaukee. WSU received 12 first-place votes in the polls. 

Additionally, Trey Calvin was selected to finish as the HL player of the year in what will be his final season on the team. Along with Calvin, Noel and Holden were each selected to finish on the All-HL Second Team. 

Noel earned HL freshman last year and has a lot of progression set to be on display this winter. 

“The jump that [Noel] made from last year being his first year, I think he is going to make another big jump like last year,” Welage stated on a player he is excited to see progress this year. 

Playing for Nagy 

Head Coach Scott Nagy has propelled the Raiders to new heights since his arrival in 2016. 

Nagy has been named HL coach of the year in 2018, 2019 and 2020. His leadership has guided the Raiders to two NCAA tournament appearances in that time. 

In 2018, Nagy had his contract quietly extended through the 2023-24 season. 

Since the Raiders do not know what Nagy’s future holds, they want to go out and play for their coach who has provided so much for them and the program as a whole. 

“He was the only Division 1 coach to give me a chance, so I am forever thankful for that to have the opportunity to play,” Noel mentioned. “He stuck with me for two years when I did not see the court once.” 

Looking at the schedule

WSU will have their work cut out for them this season, as the team will play against familiar foes that always provide competition. 

The Raiders’ non-conference slate will begin on the road against Colorado State followed by the home opener against Toledo before traveling to face the Hoosiers of Indiana in the Big Ten. 

Following the first three games, WSU will travel to participate in the Gulf Coast Showcase, which features multiple teams commonly seen in the NCAA Tournament, such as Louisiana, Buffalo and Hoffstra. 

On Nov. 29, the Raiders will host IUPUI for a very early conference opener before traveling to Davidson. 

WSU will take off with its conference slate on Dec. 29, as the team travels to Green Bay and plays five road games in a six-game span. 

The Raiders are bound to deliver a very exciting season for their fans that will be filled with high hopes and aspirations to get back to the NCAA tournament. 

Adam Campbell

Sports Reporter

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