UE coach Marty Simmons enters next season with a full roster, no seniors and no reason to recruit the class of 2014.
“That will be new,” said the men’s basketball coach, who by signing five high school seniors filled his 13-scholarship allotment. “I’m sure we’ll watch some guys play in the next class. Things happen, and that’s just kind of the world we live in.”
UE’s coaching staff will concentrate instead on the class of 2015, which means current rising high school juniors. The Aces are on track to graduate Ryan Sawvell, Jaylon Moore, Jordan Nelson and Rokas Cesnulevicius before the 2015-2016 season, opening up four scholarships.
“Obviously our main focus will be with the following class with the guys who will be graduating in our junior class,” Simmons said. “We’ll try to get a real jump start in building relationships with guys in that class.”
UE’s only reported class of 2015 scholarship offer so far went to Josh Speidel, a forward from Columbus North High School.
Too early to talk redshirts
Tyler Ptacek, a late spring signee and former UNC Wilmington commit, raised some eyebrows when the Padua (Ohio) Christian High School guard said, “I didn’t want to go into Wilmington or any other college not knowing if my coach was going to be there all five years.”
Simmons said Wednesday he hasn’t actually talked with Ptacek yet about redshirting.
“I think I’ve told you my philosophy on that is pretty much that we have to evaluate them first,” the coach said. “You watch them in high school, but now that you’ve got them in your environment there’s a lot that can go into redshirting — depth at a position, if you’ve got a guy who lacks some physical strength, obviously injury — but ultimately from my standpoint, it’s the player’s decision.”
David Howard, a forward, went through that process last year and decided to redshirt in November.
“He was dedicated to all the time and effort outside of regular practice, and he’s made considerable improvements to his body and just I think his overall confidence and knowledge of our system,” Simmons said.
Ryan working out in front of pro scouts
Most outgoing seniors will wait until after the June 27 NBA Draft to sign professional contracts, waiting to see whether there’s a chance to land on an NBA roster or spot in the summer league.
Maybe you can count Colt Ryan among those players.
“Colt’s in town,” Simmons said. “He’s working out here and looks great. You’ll probably have to talk to him, but I think he’s got some workouts set up with some NBA teams. That’s his next step.”
I haven’t been able to reach Ryan for an update but hope to do so today.
Simmons said he hasn’t had much contact with Troy Taylor and Ned Cox, both guys who tweet often about continuing their basketball workouts.
As for the Aces’ other senior last season, Lewis Jones, Simmons said the Memphis native is ready to put his sociology degree to work.
“Lewis is actually looking to relocate in Evansville right now and get in the workforce here in the community,” Simmons said. “I think just community involvement and working with kids — he’s got a real passion for that.”
Schedule still a work in progress
Aces coaches are still working to complete their non-conference schedule. Games at Indiana and Miami (Ohio), as well as one against Butler at the Ford Center are confirmed. UE, like all Missouri Valley Conference members, is required to also play in a regular-season exempt tournament. The Aces are still finalizing that deal, and Simmons declined to comment on specifics at this point.