Filling the voids

Cody Rivera

The 2012-13 season for the Western Illinois men’s basketball team ended in tragedy, leaving both Ceola Clark and Terell Parks injured and the fans disappointed with a semi-finals loss to North Dakota State in the Summit League Tournament. The good news for the Leathernecks is that expectations for the 2013-14 season will be just as high last season’s.

Western will be saying goodbye to Clark and Parks next season, two of the team’s best players. 

 While it will be impossible to replace the lovable vibe that these men brought to the team, the Leathernecks have players who will hopefully be able to fill their roles on the court.

Filling Parks’ slot as the center position will be Michael Ochereobia, who will be a senior in the upcoming season. Ochereobia is originally from Hackney, England, and played his first two collegiate seasons at Highland Community College before transferring to Western.

When Parks went down with an ankle injury on Feb. 23, Ochereobia found himself in the starting lineup the following game against Missouri-Kansas City. While the question of whether he would be able to successfully replace Parks at the center position was certainly present, the Leathernecks went on to win the game 53-50.  Ochereobia put up 14 points, shot a perfect 5-5 from the field with a 4-6 free throw performance.

That answered the question if Ochereobia would be able to be a dominant presence on the court for the Leathernecks. Next season, when he is fully prepared to be the starting center, he should be able to score a decent number of points per game, and more importantly, be a strong defensive presence at the other end of the court.

Freshman Jordan Foster will most likely be replacing Clark at the point guard position for the 2013-14 season. Foster didn’t see a lot of minutes this past season, but thankfully that was because Clark was able to stay healthy throughout most of the games.  However, on Nov. 29, 2012 Foster did register 21 minutes of play at South Dakota. In this game, he scored 11 points with two assists as well as a 75 percent performance from the

charity stripe.

When Foster gets the chance to play 30-40 minutes a game, he could potentially be a player who averages 10-15 points per game. Those would be pretty good numbers to replace Clark with.

The rebuilding process will continue next season for head coach Jim Molinari as the Leathernecks will once again try to make the Big Dance.

Twitter: @codyrivera13