Indiana Tech hoops is already good but coach Ted Albert is striving for more

Indiana Tech men's basketball coach Ted Albert instructs his team during a practice at the Schaefer Center last season. (By Tom Davis of News-Sentinel.com)
Indiana Tech redshirt sophomore forward Jason Boateng

INDIANAPOLIS – Second-year Indiana Tech men’s basketball coach Ted Albert won an NAIA Division II National Championship as a player at Cornerstone (2011) and later served as an assistant coach on the 2015 Eagles’ title-winning squad, which goes a long way in explaining his perspective on Indiana Tech’s performance last season.

“We had the skill-set to win a lot of games,” Albert told News-Sentinel.com Monday, “but we had to really come together to win the ones that mattered. We had a great year but we didn’t win a conference regular season, a conference tournament or a national championship, we have zero banners and that is what makes the good teams into great teams.”

Albert’s tenure, thus far, with the Warriors has been nothing short of incredible, despite his lukewarm reflection.

Indiana Tech won 27 games (17 in the Wolverine-Hoosier Athletic Conference) and advanced to the NAIA National Tournament. As part of that journey, the Warriors beat the No. 1-ranked team in the country (Cornerstone), the No. 2-ranked squad (Union), the No. 3-ranked team and eventual national runner-up (Saint Francis), AND the No. 4-ranked and eventual national champion (Indiana Wesleyan).

“We have a lot of lasting memories from last year,” Albert continued, “but (winning championships) is really what elevates those seasons and brings everyone a little bit closer together.”

Albert and his assistant coaches, Brandt Danals and Jantzen Goodwin, spent Monday building for the future as they scouted prospects at the IBCA-IHSAA Underclassmen Showcase at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis. But that future – in terms of this coming season – is already sparkling bright.

Indiana Tech had seven players average at least nine points per game and five of those athletes return, including the top three.

Senior forward Darren Groves (14 points, eight boards, 72 assists) leads the returners, while senior guard Dylan Phair (13 points, 59 3-pointers made), junior forward Max Huber (11 points, five boards), senior guard Joel Wincowski (10 points, a team-high 97 assists, 48 percent from 3-point range), and fifth-year guard Edmond Early Jr. (nine points) are back, as well.

The Warrior coaches have brought in seven newcomers, including NCAA Division I transfer Logan Primerano (UMass Lowell, Peru High School), who is an explosive athlete and offensive player.

“I really think that Logan is a kid who can take us and push us over the top a little bit,” Albert said.

Albert made an impression on the Fort Wayne-recruiting scene immediately, as he landed former Leo High School guard Jeremy Davison and Bishop Dwenger post Lucas Lehrman.

The Warriors also have signed 6-foot-8 forward Josh Kline out of Central Valley High School (Monaca, Penn.), Michigan high school guard Tyler Canfield, as well as Owens Community College transfer Dilyn Good (6-foot-9).

Also joining the recruiting class is former South Bend Washington guard Cory McKinney, who Albert admits to being “excited about.”

“Cory is tough as nails,” Albert said. “We’re really excited about all of these guys in this class but Cory is a kid that is going to make some people uncomfortable (to play against).”

INTERNATIONAL REPRESENTATION

The Warrior basketball program has been nationally-relevant for awhile due to its success on the court but redshirt sophomore Jason Boateng is taking the Indiana Tech name to an international level.

The 6-foot-8 forward is representing the United States in the 2018 World Deaf Basketball Championships in Washington, D.C. through Saturday.

“Representing your country in anything that you do is of the highest regard,” Albert said. “Jason is such a good kid and has such a great heart. It is definitely a blessing to our program.”

Boateng has helped the United States to a pair of routs over Israel and Australia and had a double-double in the latter victory.

“He is one of those kids that is a gentle giant,” Albert said. “He cares about everybody else. You love to see Jason smile. He has an infectious smile. We are blessed to have him in our family.”

For more on college basketball, follow Tom Davis on Twitter at Tom101010, Facebook at Thomas Davis, and Instagram at tomdavis101010.

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