First year head coach Greg Neeley, a Bremen native, returns to his home state to lead Ancilla after spending the past three seasons as the head assistant coach at NCAA Division 3 program Piedmont College in Demorest, GA.
Neeley, along with assistant coaches Kirk Weiss and Kevin Ecenbarger, will be charged with resurrecting a program that won just two games last year after posting 15 wins during the 2007-2008 campaign.
“Having the opportunity to bring an NCAA coach in for the first time to administer our program is a tremendous opportunity for us,” said Ancilla College Athletic Director Gene Reese at the time of Neeley’s hiring. “Greg is very prepared, very organized, very knowledgeable, and has a tremendously high energy level. I’m looking forward to his leadership of the men’s basketball program.”
Several sophomores will be at Neeley’s disposal to help him improve the team’s fortunes this year and mentor the new freshman faces on the roster.
Leading the way will be 5’11” sophomore guard Antonio Cannon. The Indianapolis Northwest grad was a 2nd Team All-MCCAA Western Conference pick during his 2008-2009 freshman campaign, averaging just under 16 points per game for the Chargers. He was tabbed last year as a NJCAA Preseason All-American before redshirting, and will be counted on as a primary offensive weapon for Ancilla.
Another key returner is 6’5” forward Ellis Cole. Cole, a Pike graduate, averaged 10.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season and will give the Chargers a legitimate inside presence once again.
Ben Gilbert (5.5 PPG, 4.3 RPG), a 6’2” swingman from Argos, and Denver Combs, a 6’1” guard and transfer from NCAA Division 2 Saint Joseph’s College, will also provide depth and leadership for Ancilla.
“With only a couple returners, our initial challenge is to continually improve playing together,” said Neeley. “The majority of our guys have never played a college basketball game before, and it is important for us to speed up their learning curve as quick as possible.”
Of the 16 freshmen, one of the most highly touted is 6’7” forward Joby Renbarger. The Greentown, IN, native averaged 17.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game at Eastern High School his senior year and is expected to make immediate contributions for Ancilla as a freshman.
Local standout Jacob Mangus, a graduate of LaVille, will also be joining the Chargers this year. The 6’1” guard was named LaVille’s MVP each of the last three years.
Filling out the guard positions on the roster include Phillip Tutus, Michael Hornback, Patrick Woodard, Isaiah Christy, Affice Johnson, Jordan Leturgez, David White, Khalid Jackson, Charles White, and Josh Wilson.
Post players include Robert Perry, Eric Baum, and Dontale Mayes.
“We don’t have a lot of size, but we think our three bigger guys (Cole, Mayes, Renbarger) have a chance to play bigger than their listed heights,” said Neeley. “All three work extremely hard, and we’ll need them to be successful.”
The Chargers will have a difficult schedule this year, as 10 of their 16 opponents posted records over .500 last year. Six of those teams won at least 17 games last year. To cope, Neeley said his team will need to play at an up-tempo pace, scoring both inside and outside with a focus on fundamental defense and rebounding.
“Our conference is super athletic and super talented,” said Neeley. “For us to be successful, we must play fast, play unselfish, and outwork our opponents.
“We want to play at a faster pace, but at the same time, we don’t want to sacrifice the fundamental principles that will make us successful. Sound defense, maximum effort, and playing together are extremely vital for us to have a good season.”
Ancilla will open up the regular season on Saturday, November 6 when they host Lorain County Community College. The game will be held at The LifePlex in Plymouth and will tipoff at 2:00 p.m. Eastern.
# Name Pos Ht Yr Hometown/High School (Previous School)
3 Ellis Cole F 6’5 SO Indianapolis, IN/ Pike
4 Phillip Titus G 5’10 FR Indianapolis, IN/ Washington
5 Michael Hornback G 6’0 FR Muncie, IN/ Southside
10 Patrick Woodard G 5’10 FR Indianapolis, IN/ Perry Meridian
11 Jacob Mangus G 6’1 FR Plymouth, IN/ LaVille
12 Denver Combs G 6’1 SO Winamac, IN/ Knox (Saint Joseph’s College)
13 Isaiah Christy G 6’1 FR Fishers, IN/ Hamilton Southeastern
15 Affice Johnson G 6’0 FR Indianapolis, IN/ Irvington Prep
20 Jordan Leturgez G 6’0 FR Lafayette, IN/ West Lafayette
22 David White G 6’0 FR Terre Haute, IN/ North Vigo
23 Khalid Jackson G 6’1 FR Plainfield, IN/ Elkhart Central
24 Ben Gilbert G 6’2 SO Argos, IN/ Argos
30 Antonio Cannon G 5’11 SO Indianapolis, IN/ Northwest
31 Charles White G 6’1 FR South Bend, IN/ Washington
32 Joby Renbarger F 6’7 FR Greentown, IN/ Eastern
33 Josh Wilson G 6’3 FR Montezuma, IN/ Riverton Parke
40 Robert Perry F 6’5 FR Newburgh, IN/ New Harmony
42 Eric Baum F 6’6 FR Hanna, IN/ South Central
44 Dontale Mayes F 6’6 FR Jeffersonville, IN/ Rock Creek
Greg Neeley, Head Coach – 1st Season
Kirk Weiss, Assistant Coach – 2nd Season
Kevin Ecenbarger, Assistant Coach – 1st Season