Wright State posted a special men’s basketball roster page on Halloween. Using a phone app, they dressed all the players in wild, bushy beards to make them look like cast members from Duck Dynasty — or Boston Red Sox hitters, who themselves may have been imitating the famous duck hunters this season.
Don’t worry, Raider fans. The players have their share of facial hair, but not as much as in those photos. Their stubble won’t get in the way at 7 tonight as they open the season with an exhibition game against Findlay at the Nutter Center.
The Raiders will wear their regular uniforms tonight, not Halloween costumes. Still, because of injuries, it won’t look like the team fans hope to see in March.
“We’ve had some guys banged up,” WSU coach Billy Donlon said. “Jerran Young hasn’t practiced in three weeks. Miles Dixon hasn’t practiced in two weeks. Our numbers have dwindled. That’s been good for some of the newer guys — Steven Davis, Mark Howell, Daniel Meyer — to get a lot of reps in practice. In our private scrimmage, they got a lot more minutes than probably they would have. The same would be true (tonight).”
On the plus side, senior guard Matt Vest will play. There has been talk of him redshirting because he had hip surgery after last season, but he’s been practicing for weeks now and said he hasn’t had any setbacks.
“I feel awesome,” Vest said. “At first, I kind of struggled with my conditioning, obviously from being off six months. Once I got my conditioning back, I felt great. We haven’t really started the grind. If it doesn’t respond, I’m not going to play if it doesn’t feel good. That’s the reason I had the surgery.”
Findlay is ranked ninth in NCAA Division II. It also plays an exhibition game Saturday against Dayton. Its roster features two players from the Miami Valley: sophomore forward John Staley, a Chaminade-Julienne graduate; and Mark Frilling, a senior forward from Fort Loramie.
“Findlay’s really good,” Donlon said. “They’ve beaten people in these games before. Every game they play is hotly contested. We’ll have our hands full.”
Findlay at Wright State, 7 p.m., 106.5