After last year’s finish of 24-9, Ferris State men’s basketball will look to have even more success with a team full of familiar faces.
Ferris has played one of their two preseason games so far. The one being a 31-point loss to the University of Toledo, a DI program who finished 27-8 this past season and lost to the Michigan Wolverines in the National Invitation Tournament. Ferris will play their second opponent, the DIII Calvin Knights, on Friday, Nov. 3.
This past season, Ferris made it all the way to the regional semi-finals in the national tournament. They will be returning every rotation player from that roster besides leading scorer Solomon Oraegbu, who transfered to Emporia State. They return an explosive offense that was 13th in the nation in scoring, top five in assists and assist to turnover ratio, and 22nd in field goal percentage. They were also top of the conference in every team offensive statistic besides three-pointers made and three-point percentage.
Some of the key returnees include first team All-GLIAC senior guard Ben Davidson, senior forward Dolapo Olayinka, junior forward Deng Reng, senior guard Amari Lee, and the All-GLIAC defensive team junior forward Mykel Bingham. The five players combined for 54% of the team’s points per game last season. Another key returnee is second team All-GLIAC junior Ethan Erickson. The sharpshooting guard averaged 11.7 points per game last season and is set to be receiving an even bigger role now that Oraegbu is gone.
“The way I have grown the most is leading by example,” Erickson said. “I try to come into practice with good energy and a positive mindset so the younger guys can see that and learn from it.”
Erickson led the conference this past season in three-pointers made and was second in three-point percentage.
Head coach Andy Bronkema, would could not be reached for comment at this time, is bringing in three freshmen to go along with the veteran roster: guard Anthony Sydnor, forward Chikasi Ofoma and guard Dono Thames. Sydnor knows how to win as he comes from Muskegon High School, where he made it to the division one state championship game his senior year. He feels that the mindset of that culture has brought him to Ferris.
“I chose Ferris for basketball first mainly because I loved the winning culture and I love their style of play,” says Sydnor. “Having the winning mentality drilled in me at Muskegon has helped me take my new role at Ferris and fulfill that role to the best of my ability.”
In his 11th season as Head coach, Bronkema has had 20 wins in 10 of those seasons and has won four conference championships. The most successful season came in 2018 where Ferris finished the season 38-1 and ended up winning the national championship. Even the freshmen have it instilled in them that this season is the season to bring home a second national championship.
“The team’s goals are simple, I want us to win every championship there is, starting with GLIAC champs and ending with National champions,” Sydnor said. “Pick up all the rings and trophies that we can.”
Ferris begins their quest for a national championship at home against Northwood University on Friday, Nov. 10 at 5 p.m.