FAIRBORN — After losing four out of their first five games away from home, the Wright State University Raiders men’s college basketball team have become road warriors, by stringing together four consecutive victories as the visiting team.
In overtime last weekend at Oakland, Wright State forward Everett Winchester got hot at the right time and scored seven points in a key 86-81 Horizon League win.
“It felt good, because I got off to a rough start in the beginning of the game. Towards the end, I started to get in a rhythm and produce for the team,” Winchester said. “They needed me and it happened to be in overtime. It felt great.”
Winchester followed that up with 10 points in a neck-and-neck game at Northern Kentucky that saw WSU top the Norse 84-81 and take sole possession of first place in the Horizon League.
“Particularly on the road, he’s (Winchester) made a bigger impact,” WSU coach Scott Nagy said.
Underclassmen like Winchester, center Loudon Love, and guards Jaylon Hall and Cole Gentry have combined to make a significant impact on the success of WSU this season.
“If you have a lot of young players playing ahead of older guys, that can be a problem sometimes in terms of egos, but I think we have a good team feel and concept,” Nagy said. “They know that the young guys deserve to be playing.”
Early in the season, Winchester says he had some nerves. His confidence was a work in progress and that the speed of the college game required a learning curve. He is now feeling more comfortable on the court.
“Overall, I feel confident and prepared,” Winchester said. “I’m still trying to figure it out, but the more I get into the gym and work on the mental aspects, the more confidence I gain for the games.”
If he is struggling in a game, Winchester has found the support of his coach lifts him up.
“If I get taken out of the game, he’ll (Nagy) come over, talk to me and let me know what needs to happen the next time I go onto the floor,” Winchester said. “Most of the time, he helps by making you relax. He never gets too hard on you and always says something to pick you up.”
Though he is built more like a forward with his size and 6-foot-6 frame, there is another way Winchester has been able to produce.
“His (Winchester) natural position is probably point guard. I think he thinks more that way,” Nagy said. “He is a very good ball handler for his size and a really good athlete.”
In addition to proving he can create his own shot, Winchester has been becoming a better defender.
“The area he has improved in the most is his defense. We can put him on just about anybody,” Nagy said. “He is going to see more and more time for us because of his versatility on defense.”
Returning from the successful stretch on the road, the Raiders were back to defend the home court, Jan. 15 against Youngstown State.
“I’m proud because we’ve been through some tough times losing on the road to now winning on the road,” Winchester said. “Hopefully we continue to keep this run going and stick together.”
Story courtesy of Alan Hieber and Wright State University Athletics.