In today’s edition of Banner Morning:
• Kobe Webster leads the way for the Leathernecks
• Indiana frontcourt to be tested with 7-foot freshman
• WIU coach Billy Wright has Indiana basketball in his blood
Welcome Hoosier fans to today’s edition of Banner Morning — your daily rundown of IU basketball news and notes.
I’m Dylan Wallace, and let’s take a look at Indiana’s first opponent of the season.
With updates to come later today from Archie Miller and selected players, it’s time to examine what Western Illinois can bring to the table tomorrow night.
The Fighting Leathernecks finished with a 10-21 record last season and had a 4-12 record in the Summit League Conference. They got one taste of a Big Ten team, losing to Nebraska in late November 73-49.
The Leathernecks’ leading scorer is back for this season. Kobe Webster averaged 17 points per game and appeared in all 31 games. He made 76 3-pointers last year, shooting them at a 41% clip. The 6-foot guard also dished out 3.1 assists per game.
Webster will begin his junior season with 972 career points. Only 23 players have eclipsed 1,000 points in their Leatherneck careers, and Webster currently ranks 27th in all-time scoring.
The team only has three freshmen this season, so they have a lot of experience playing with one another. One freshman that sticks out, though, is Alex Brantley. Brantley, from Detroit, Michigan, stands 7-feet tall and weighs in at 215 pounds.
The tallest player on Gannon that played against Indiana in last week’s exhibition was 6’10, so Brantley’s size will be a good test for Indiana’s deep frontcourt.
The man in charge of the Leathernecks is Billy Wright, who enters his sixth year as the program’s head coach. Wright has some Indiana basketball in his blood as he played at Richmond High School, where he won an IHSAA state championship in 1992.
Wright was named Indiana Mini Mr. Basketball in 1992, which was awarded to the best player in the state under 6-feet tall. He also played for the Indiana All-Stars that year.
He played at Bradley University, and then Wright came back to Indiana to be the head coach at Ben Davis High School and Pike High School, where he coached three future NBA players in Courtney Lee, Jeff Teague and Marquis Teague.
When he took the head coaching job at Western Illinois in 2014, Brad Stevens gave a statement about him saying, “I’m really happy for both Billy Wright and WIU. Billy’s a great basketball coach, with high integrity and energy. Knowing Billy, he will hit the ground running in his efforts to make WIU basketball the best it can be.”
Wright helped the team make history during the 2018-19 Summit League Conference Tournament, where the Leathernecks upset South Dakota State, who Indiana plays later this year, 79-76, in the quarterfinal round to become the first No. 8 seed in league history to defeat the No. 1 seed. The victory also marked Western Illinois’ first Summit League Tournament victory since 2013.
The Leathernecks and Hoosiers will tip-off at 7 p.m. eastern tomorrow in Simon Skjodt Assembly Hall.
For the links mentioned in this edition of Banner Morning, visit assemblycall.com.
Remember to use the URL iutickets.shop to visit SeatGeek for the best prices on IU basketball tickets. That’s iutickets.shop, promo code ASSEMBLY, for $10 off your first purchase.
We’ll be back tomorrow with a new edition of Banner Morning. Until then, keep your elbows in, your eyes on the rim, and go Hoosiers.