Six players from last year’s edition of the Northwest College men’s basketball team are expected to make a return to the roster this season, featuring several key players off the bench …
Six players from last year’s edition of the Northwest College men’s basketball team are expected to make a return to the roster this season, featuring several key players off the bench throughout last year.
Leading the way for the returners is Will Hemme from Fort Collins, Colorado, who served as one of the primary options off the bench last season averaging 18 minutes a game.
In those 18 minutes he averaged 5.3 points per game on strong shooting splits, along with 2.4 assists while playing in every game.
“I thought he had a solid freshman year,” coach Andy Ward said. “A good leader, works hard and shoots the ball well.”
The next player who saw time in every game is Mack Page from Worland, who averaged 14 minutes in every game.
He averaged 6.4 points per game while shooting 57% from the field and 40% from 3-point range along with 3.4 rebounds a game.
“I thought Mack got better and better as the year went on,” Ward said. “He’s a warrior around the basket, has a knack for finding the ball, rebounding the ball and can score the ball well around the basket.”
The next returning Trapper featured in 28 of the 31 games while starting in three is Kolter Merritt from Star Valley.
He averaged 4.3 points per game and three rebounds a game while also combining to average a block/steal each game.
“He was in our regular rotation and brings a toughness and energy that is hard to find,” Ward said.
The final Trapper that featured in a game last year is Milton Rodriguez Santana from Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, who played in 21 games.
He averaged 2.4 points a game along with a rebound each game.
“He’s a very good athlete and an exceptional defender,” Ward said. “I think he could really surprise a lot of people.”
Northwest will also have two players who had redshirt years last year looking to contribute, with Max Postiglione from Brussels, Belgium, and Jean Carlo Villanueva from Sonora, Mexico, joining the team this season.
“Max has really good size and shoots the ball really well. I am anxious for Max to join the playing squad,” Ward said. “Jean is all about the team, he’s a very willing passer and a good spot up shooter. He just has a desire to make this team as good as possible.”
The tallest Trapper this upcoming season was expected to return to the team this year after a redshirt season, but Erick Mulibea will be unable to play in 2023 after suffering an offseason knee injury.
That will leave a slightly smaller Northwest team with the tallest player listed at 6 feet, 7 inches.
“I was really disappointed for him. The young man has battled some injuries,” Ward said. “He was one of our big kids, we will certainly miss him. He’s a bigger kid that’s skilled.”
The Trappers are expected to bring in nine freshmen to this year’s team, hoping to take the next step under Ward in his second season as head coach in his second stint at Northwest.