New coach, new players, new mission

Photo by Carly Fristoe 	
Junior Sam Mader goes airborne in a game against Southwest Baptist last season.

Photo by Tom_Fristoe

Photo by Carly Fristoe
Junior Sam Mader goes airborne in a game against Southwest Baptist last season.

Phil Scherer Managing Editor
From Print[Nov.16, 2015]

It has been an offseason of change for the Lindenwood basketball program, not just for the men competing on the court, but also the people coaching them on the sideline.

On April 17, Brad Soderberg, the coach of the Lions since 2009, resigned to join the University of Virginia coaching staff, prompting the school to conduct a nationwide search to find a new coach.

The school found its man less than a month later as it was announced that Lance Randall, previously the coach of Saint Leo University, would be taking over the program.

After being hired in May, Randall went to work putting together a recruiting class for the coming season with very little time to work.

Photo by Carly Fristoe
Junior Sam Mader goes airborne in a game against Southwest Baptist last season.

“Basically, when you’re a basketball coach and you get hired, you start right away,” Randall said.

“I got hired on a Sunday, and I was here on a Tuesday and got right to work on recruiting.”

The result was a mix of players from Randall’s home state of Wisconsin, as well as a pair of Division I transfers and an international player from France.

Randall explained that because he had a short window to put together a recruiting class, he had to use connections and resources he had formed over the years to find the best group of players.

Stanislas Heili, a 7-foot-1-inch center from Strasbourg, France, the tallest player in Lindenwood history, provides an element that the Lions have been severely lacking since transitioning to the NCAA. With his arrival, Sam Mader, the previous starting center, is able to move to a forward position that better suits his frame.

“(Heili) has extremely good feet, he has a great feel for the game,” Randall said.

“He just impacts the game in so many ways because he is so long and causes a lot of problems for people out on the court.”

Brad Newman, another new arrival to the team this year, appears to be the Lions answer for replacing four-year standout Darris Smith at the point guard position. Newman, a Wisconsin native, arrives after spending one season at Eastern Arizona College where he averaged more than 13 points per game.

Photo by Carly Fristoe
Senior Cory Artensen goes for a free throw during a game against Northwest Missouri last season.

Other new additions that will look to be key contributors this season are forward Chandler Diekvoss, guard Charles Rushman and guard Jake Showalter. Each of these three players were given Division I scholarships out of high school, but have ended up at LU for a number of reasons, mainly the promise of more consistent playing time.

Although there is certainly a level of excitement surrounding the new arrivals to the team, a number of key contributors remain from last year’s 17-12 team that will once again make an impact on the court this season.

The two main returning players will be senior forward Cory Arentsen as well as Mader, both of whom return to the starting lineup this season.
Randall praised both Arentsen and Mader’s versatility on the roster, noting that Arentsen has the ability to score in a number of different ways, while Mader has the ability to shift all over the court depending on the needs of the team.

Arentsen was the team’s leading scorer last year, averaging more than 15 points per game. Mader averaged more than 8 points per game, along with being the leading rebounder for the season.

LU opened its season this past weekend, picking up a pair of victories against Southwestern Oklahoma State University and Southern Nazarene University. Heili recorded a double-double in the first win, scoring 12 points and collecting 11 rebounds. In the second game, Arentsen was the star for LU, scoring 36 points and making seven three-pointers.

The team will return home this Wednesday to open the home portion of their schedule against Maryville University.