The so-called non-casual part of the boys high school basketball season hasn’t even begun, and yet already the casualties have begun.
The list includes some of the best players around the area, too.
Meanwhile, Cory Waycaster, who once looked like a transfer casualty, has been ruled fully eligible to play back at his original school, Elkhart Christian Academy.
On the cluttered ailment front, Concord’s top returning scorer, Adam Glanders, may be out for the season due to a hip injury; Goshen’s top returning scorer, Brady Bechtel, is working his way back from a problematic knee; Westview’s top returning scorer, Chandler Aspy, could miss anywhere form the next four to eight weeks due to mononucleosis; and Wawasee’s top returning scorer, Alex Clark, could miss the first couple games after recently suffering a broken hand in open gym.
That’s not even everybody who’s battling physical hurdles, just a few of the more notable players.
There actually is some good injury news, too, as formal practices do get set to tip around the area on Monday, Nov. 11.
Marian junior and Division I prospect Devin Cannady, after suffering a knee injury that shelved him in football, is full-go, according to coach Robb Berger.
As for Waycaster, after he transferred from Jimtown back to ECA for this fall, Indiana High School Athletic Association commissioner Bobby Cox ruled the senior to have limited eligibility based on IHSAA bylaws, meaning Waycaster would not have been able to play varsity ball.
An IHSAA review committee upheld the decision Aug. 7 after an appeal was made.
But on Oct. 10, the Indiana Department of Education overruled the IHSAA and declared Waycaster fully eligible, according to ECA athletic director Craig Coffman.
ECA coach Ryan Culp said it’s his understanding that the IHSAA was given 45 days to appeal that ruling, but both he and Coffman said they’ve not been given any indication that the IHSAA will do so.
A call this past week to Cox was not returned.
Waycaster, who was in his third season as an Eagle starter at the time, transferred from ECA to Jimtown in mid-season last January, with his father, Jim, detailing to The Elkhart Truth that the move was necessitated by family finances.
Culp said Indiana’s educational voucher program enabled Waycaster’s return to ECA
“Cory had a legitimate hardship when he left,” Culp said. “He wouldn’t have left if it wasn’t for that hardship, and my guess is (the IDOE) saw that.”
Waycaster’s presence at ECA reunites him with a deep and battle-tested senior class, as the Eagles, even with their cranked-up schedule, look to build on last season’s 14-8 mark.
NorthWood, 16-7 last season, is another area team that features the combination of a winning record and a bevy of top veterans back, led by All-Area second-teamers Jonathan Wilkinson and Zach Zurcher.
Northridge is among other hopeful clubs, and is led by the lone returning All-Area first-teamer, Nate Ritchie.
As for those aforementioned injuries, Concord coach Steven Austin said it’s “a very high possibility” that Glanders won’t play at all this basketball season due to a hip issue that will eventually need surgery. Glanders is attempting to complete the football season with the Minutemen.
At Goshen, Bechtel is “still fighting swelling in his knee,” according to his father and coach, Brian Bechtel, and has been “limited a little” in workouts.
The younger Bechtel, who led the Redskins in assists and averaged 6.9 points as a freshman last season, underwent a second meniscus surgery in July, then suffered a sprain to the same knee during football season.
The Truth will preview all area teams individually over the next few weeks. Capsules running in conjunction with today’s story include only players who averaged 1.5 or more points last season.
2013-14 boys basketball capsules
Coach: Jim Buller (368-370 in 34 seasons, all at Bethany).
2012-13 record: 4-18.
Potential returnees include: Senior — Abe Thorne (9.0 points per game in 2012-13). Juniors — Sol Brenneman (12.1), Nate Nussbaum (2.6), Cristian Romero (2.5).
All-Area losses: Caleb Morris (Honorable Mention).
Opener: Nov. 26 vs. Westview.
Coach: Steve Austin (82-29 in 5 seasons at Concord; 404-243 in 28 seasons overall).
2012-13 record: 19-2 (7-0 NLC).
Potential returnees include: Seniors — Adam Glanders (HM; 8.5), Ramon Johnson (HM; 7.7). Junior — Filip Serwatka (2nd Team; 13.0).
All-Area losses: Franko House (1st Team), DuWhan Alford (HM).
Opener: Nov. 26 at Lakeland.
Coach: Troy Noble (6-15 in 1 season at Central; 23-45 in 3 seasons overall).
2012-13 record: 6-15 (1-7 NIC).
Potential returnees include: Seniors — Jaron Walters (6.3), Tre Taylor (5.3), Genoris Crawford (3.2). Junior — Aaron Flax (1.7).
All-Area losses: Terell Street (2nd Team), Blake Brouwer (HM).
Opener: Nov. 27 vs. Northridge.
Coach: Ryan Culp (35-28 in 3 seasons at Elkhart Christian; 153-109 in 12 seasons overall).
2012-13 record: 14-8.
Potential returnees include: Seniors — Ryan Kupferschmid (2nd Team; 18.3), Tanner Watson (11.7), Kenny Bearss (HM; 10.9), Cory Waycaster (HM; 13.3 in 6 games at ECA; 5.1 in 11 games at Jimtown). Junior — Jude Allen (1.5).
All-Area losses: None.
Opener: Dec. 3 vs. Elkhart Memorial.
Coach: Mark Barnhizer (95-62 in 7 seasons at Memorial; 376-266 in 29 seasons overall).
2012-13 record: 8-13 (4-3 NLC).
Potential returnees include: Senior — Freddie Rhodes (6.6). Juniors — Dimitri Giger (6.8), Cameron Maxwell (4.3). Sophomore — Michael O’Toole (1.8).
All-Area losses: Markese McGuire (1st Team), James Hershberger (HM).
Opener: Dec. 3 at Elkhart Christian.
Coach: Troy Beachy (19-25 in 2 seasons, both at Fairfield).
2012-13 record: 11-12 (7-3 NECC).
Potential returnees include: Seniors — Marcus Rodes (9.0), John Stack (1.9). Juniors — Joe Line (8.3), Josh Stephens (5.7). Sophomore — Mitt DeWitt (2.1).
All-Area losses: Brad Lantz (HM), Garrett Scott (HM).
Opener: Nov. 26 vs. Wawasee.
Coach: Brian Bechtel (130-170 in 14 seasons at Goshen; 143-198 in 16 seasons overall).
2012-13 record: 14-8 (4-3 NLC).
Potential returnees include: Seniors — Deric Haynes (5.0), Alex Hartsough (3.7). Juniors — Austin Woolett (5.3), Isaac Huerta (1.8). Sophomore — Brady Bechtel (HM; 6.9).
All-Area losses: Sam Stegelmann (2nd Team), Jesse Good (HM).
Opener: Nov. 26 at Marian.
Coach: Ron Dietz (7-14 in 1 season at Jimtown; 184-208 in 18 seasons overall).
2012-13 recordd: 7-14 (2-5 NSC).
Potential returnees include: Senior — Chase Hoeflinger (8.0). Junior — Nick Floyd (5.6). Sophomore — Adam DeShone (3.5).
All-Area losses: Michael Hobbs (HM).
Opener: Dec. 3 at Howe.
Coach: Robb Berger (89-43 in 6 seasons at Marian; 189-142 in 15 seasons overall).
2012-13 record: 11-10 (3-5 NIC).
Potential returnees include: Senior — Quron Marks (2.3). Juniors — Devin Cannady (2nd Team; 14.4), Nick Harris (3.4), Will Whitten (2.1). Sophomore — Jake Whitfield (2.8).
All-Area losses: Demetrius Jackson (1st Team), Michael Whitfield (HM).
Opener: Nov. 26 vs. Goshen.
Coach: Ronnie Thomas (10-12 in 1 season at Northridge).
2012-13 record: 10-12 (3-4 NLC).
Potential returnees include: Seniors — Nate Ritchie (1st Team; 18.7), Sam Ahonen (HM; 8.3). Juniors — Pete Smith (HM; 8.1), Tom Morrison (2.8).
All-Area losses: Joey Ganyard (HM).
Opener: Nov. 27 at Elkhart Central (North Side Gym).
Coach: Aaron Wolfe (77-59 in 6 seasons, all at NorthWood).
2012-13 record: 16-7 (3-4 NLC).
Potential returnees include: Seniors — Zach Zurcher (2nd Team; 16.5), Jonathan Wilkinson (2nd Team; 16.4), Will Stueve (HM; 7.2), Tanner Farmwald (6.4), Kyle McCoy (6.0). Junior — Cam Simpson (2.0).
All-Area losses: None.
Opener: Dec. 6 at Triton.
Coach: Al Rhodes (62-49 in 5 seasons at Penn; 516-241 in 32 seasons overall).
2012-13 record: 17-5 (7-1 NIC, co-champion with SB Adams).
Potential returnees include: Seniors — Christian Wittendorf (6.0), Cory Kreiger (4.5). Juniors — Jordan Geist (2nd Team; 11.3), Billy Doslak (5.5), Ryan Lutz (4.7).
All-Area losses: Austin Torres (1st Team), Conner Sowders (HM).
Opener: Nov. 30 at Carroll of Fort Wayne.
Coach: Steve Wiktorowski (first season at Wawasee; 121-178 in 14 seasons overall).
2012-13 record: 5-16 (0-7 NLC).
Potential returnees include: Senior — Chase Myers (5.5). Juniors — Alex Clark (HM; 13.7), Gage Reinhard (7.9), Jake Hutchinson (4.2), Stori Bright (2.8), Aaron Voirol (2.7). Sophomore — Jeffrey Moore (4.9).
All-Area losses: None.
Opener: Nov. 26 at Fairfield.
Coach: Rob Yoder (166-76 in 10 seasons, all at Westview).
2012-13 record: 20-4 (10-0 NECC; NECC Tournament champion).
Potential returnees include: Seniors — Jordyn Bontrger (2nd Team; 11.3), Jamar Weaver (5.2), Judah Zickafoose (DNP in 2012-13; 3.8 in 2011-12). Juniors — Chandler Aspy (HM; 13.0), Daron Miller (2.7), Cody Litwiller (1.5).
All-Area losses: Kyle Miller (HM).
Opener: Nov. 26 at Bethany Christian.
Compiled by Anthony Anderson