Welcome again to our simulated dynasty with the Western Illinois Leathernecks in School Hoops 2K8. You can find a full explanation of this project + spoiler-free links to previous seasons here. Try the introduction to this series from early April for full context. As a reminder, we simulate each recreation on this collection and solely management the recruiting and training methods. Dynasty mode runs for 40 years.
Earlier than we choose up with the Leathernecks at the beginning of 12 months 33, here’s a recap of everything that happened last season:
- We returned 4 starters from a Candy 16 group the 12 months earlier than, and commenced the brand new marketing campaign ranked No. 10 within the preseason polls. We misplaced our first two video games of the season to Florida and Indiana, after which gained out via the convention match. We entered the NCAA match at 28-2 on the season.
- We got a No. 6 seed to the massive dance. We beat George Washington within the first spherical, Stanford within the spherical of 32, Baylor within the Candy 16, and Houston within the Elite Eight. We then confronted No. 1 seed Ole Miss within the Remaining 4 and misplaced, 90-84.
- We recruited for 4 scholarships and landed 4 gamers: PG Arvydas Hardy, SF Reece Mascoll, PF Al Reece, C Felipe Hopes. It was ranked because the No. 5 recruiting class within the nation.
Right here’s a primary take a look at our roster for 12 months 33:
Once we won our seventh national championship at the end of Year 28, it capped a run of three natties in 4 years for our Leathernecks. We haven’t minimize down the nets since. Final 12 months’s Remaining 4 run had us so near our objective. Whereas we did lose three gamers to commencement, the majority of the lineup that we began throughout final season’s match run returns.
We start the season No. 13 within the preseason polls. Let’s meet the starters:
- Randolph Pompey, redshirt junior, 87 total: Pompey flew beneath the radar as a recruit (No. 134 total, No. 58 level guard), and got here in with the worst potential ranking (D grade) in program historical past. Why did we take him? We liked his measurement at 6’5 PG out of highschool, and he’s grown three inches to six’8 as he enters his redshirt junior 12 months. Pompey is a wonderful finisher, a strong three-point shooter (83 ranking), and has nice consciousness on each ends. He’s solely common as a ball handler and passer, and grades out as a C+ in quickness. After a superb recreation in our Remaining 4 loss to Ole Miss final season (23 factors, 10 assists), we expect he can take the following step and turn out to be a dominant level guard. We’re not going to complain if his low potential ranking means the NBA doesn’t need him early. Native of Mesquite, TX.
- Scott Doornekamp, redshirt junior, 91 total: Doorekamp was one other three-star recruit who appears poised to utterly outplay his rating. We moved him into the beginning lineup for final season’s match run and he gave us a constant scoring punch as a 6’6 wing who can shoot. Doornekamp is our highest-rated three-point shooter (88 ranking), and grades out as an A in ending, a B in dunking, a B in dealing with, and an A- in passing. He additionally has A velocity and A- quickness. He ought to be our point of interest this 12 months as Dave French’s substitute within the lineup. Native of Erie, PA and projected first spherical choose.
- Spanky Fanning, redshirt senior, 93 total: Fanning began for us final season earlier than we changed him within the lineup with Doornekamp for the match run. The 6’6 wing has at all times been a shaky three-point shooter, however has labored to enhance to a 75 ranking in that space. He has numerous nice ‘glue man’ type attributes: he grades out as an A- passer and ball handler, an A in on-ball protection, A- in energy and quickness, and strong consciousness on each ends. Will he have the ability to hit sufficient pictures to take us on a protracted match run? Former No. Former No. 92 total recruit out of Davis, CA.
- PF Ernesto Mack, redshirt junior, 88 total: Mack is a brilliant robust 6’8 energy ahead who can defend the rim and rating inside. He has a 92 ranking in shot blocking and a 90 ranking in energy as he enters the beginning lineup for the primary time as a junior. He’s nice on the block on both finish of the ground, and is barely common as a rebounder, however we discover his A- passing and ball dealing with grades to be intriguing. Former No. 108 total recruit and No. 8 energy ahead out of Columbus, Ohio.
- Vinnie Harmon, redshirt senior, 93 total: Harmon averaged 19 factors per recreation final 12 months as a first-time starter, and ought to be poised to tackle a good larger offensive load as a senior. His scoring package deal is principally unstoppable: he grades out as an A- in ending and midrange capturing, a B+ in three pointing, and an A+ in offensive rebounding. An explosive vertical athlete, Harmon has an extremely aggressive offensive mentality, kills it on the glass, and initiatives as about common as a defender. Former No. 122 total recruit and No. 8 middle out of Cincinnati.
Our bench might be made up of 4 redshirt sophomores: SF D.J. Stapleton (84 total), C Stevie Sturdy (85 total), SG Rob Borchardt (83 total), and PF Kendric Morales (82 total). Stapleton is one other glue guy-style wing who struggles to shoot, Borchardt appears like a doubtlessly actually good 3-and-D wing, Morales is a pure middle who can shoot, and Sturdy appears like a strong all-around huge.
We even have 4 true freshmen from the No. 5 recruiting class in America. Every participant will redshirt. They’re:
- PG Arvydas Hardy, 79 total, C- potential: 6’3 level guard from Mesa, AZ was rated because the No. 12 total prospect and No. 6 level guard. He’s our second highest-rated recruit ever, and the fourth highest-rated true freshman we’ve ever had.
- SF Reece Mascoll, 80 total, C potential: 6’8 small ahead from Riverside, CA appears nice however he’s solely rated as a 70 in three-point capturing which is slightly disappointing. No. 40 total recruit, No. 4 at his place. He’s tied for the second-highest rated true freshman we’ve ever had.
- PF Al Reece, 75 total, C- potential: 6’11 energy ahead from Glendale, AZ was rated No. 138 total, No. 19 at his place.
- C Felipe Hopes, 74 total, B+ potential: 6’11 middle from Federal Manner, WA was rated No. 139 total and No. 8 at his place.
We now have two accessible scholarships and desire a high-impact capturing guard to pair with final 12 months’s class. We resolve to supply the next gamers:
- 6’2 PG Cecil Wilkins, No. 9 total participant and No. 4 at his place, out of Cincinnati
- 6’6 SG Jerald Elliott, No. 35 total participant and No. 9 at his place, out of Sacramento
Wilkins can be our highest-rated recruit ever if we are able to land him. Elliott appears like he has a perfect mixture of measurement and capturing for an off-guard. There are some strong backup choices if we miss out, however it appears value it to swing for the fences on this scenario.
We now have excessive expectations because the No. 13 within the preseason polls. Let’s do that.
Right here’s what our non-conference schedule seemed like:
@ Michigan, Nice Alaskan Shootout, vs. St. John’s, @ Ole Miss, @ Florida, @ Stanford, vs. South Florida, @ San Francisco, Gossner Meals Vacation Class, vs. Illinois State.
Who did we do? Nicely ….
WE BEAT EVERYONE*
Yeah, the group that knocked us out within the Remaining 4 final 12 months beat us once more to break our excellent begin. If we draw them once more within the match I’m most likely going to freak out slightly bit.
You’ll discover that Harmon went ham scoring the ball within the loss to Ole Miss. That was additionally a theme of the non-con slate. Dude was going off for 30+ factors each week. He wasn’t simply our most constant scorer by a mile, he dragged us to victories offensively each night time. It felt like that man had 20 factors by the point he tied his sneakers.
We received as much as as excessive as No. 2 within the polls throughout our non-conference run, and hovered throughout the high 10 even after it. Now we needed to lock down our tourney bid throughout convention season.
Can we run the desk in Summit League play?
Sure we are able to. We run the desk 18-0 within the common season after which sweep via the Summit League match to lock down the automated bid.
We’re coming into the match at 33-1 total.
By way of how the convention video games went, our win over Southern Utah paints a reasonably good image:
Fifty two rattling factors. Vinnie Harmon dropped 52. Sure, that’s a program file. No, that wasn’t the one time he broke 40 — he additionally did it on a number of different events. I can’t bear in mind one other participant who put up huge scoring numbers as constantly as he did.
The top of season stats affirm what I suspected: that is the best scoring season in Western Illinois historical past:
Harmon averaged 27.5 factors per recreation — simply superb. That’s the best scoring season I’ve ever seen from a ‘Neck. He completed third within the NCAA in factors per recreation solely due to some bizarre glitch that had two gamers with total scores within the 50s averaging near 40 per recreation.
I observed that Harmon has greater than 2,200 factors for his profession. That’s a program file too, shocking the nice Roberto ‘Jorts’ Djordjevic who performed for us a few years in the past. He’s solely going so as to add to that complete throughout our match run.
Harmon principally took 3x as many pictures as everybody else on the group, however shout-out to Doornekamp for nonetheless averaging double-figures and hitting 50 % of his threes. We’re going to wish him as a lot as Harmon for this match run.
We’re 33-1! What sort of seed are we going to get??
2040 NCAA match
We’re given a No. 3 seed within the NCAA match. I assumed we had a case for a No. 1 or No. 2 seed, however we’ll take it. That’s our highest seed in a few years.
Our opponent within the first spherical is No. 14 seed Hartford. Hartford is rated as a 77 total. We’re rated as a 100 total.
Right here’s a take a look at our roster heading into the match:
It’s a roster that’s nearly excellent. We now have a dominant middle in Harmon, a sweet-shooting two guard in Doornekamp, a 6’8 level guard in Pompey. I’m simply apprehensive Spanky Fanning, who’s tied for our highest-rated participant, gained’t give us sufficient three-point capturing to make sure a future. Having a knockdown shooter on the small ahead place has been so vital throughout a few of our earlier runs that I resolve to make a change: sophomore Rob Borchardt, who initiatives as a straight 3-and-D man, is transferring into the beginning lineup. Spanky will lead the bench.
Does it really feel bizarre to bench your highest rated participant on a group that’s 33-1? Nicely, yeah. However let’s see the way it goes.
Hartford appears utterly overmatched on this recreation. This higher be a straightforward dub:
Win, 100-65. We’re onto the spherical of 32.
Hartford performed valiantly within the first half, and we solely led by 4 factors at halftime. Luckily, we blew the sport open popping out of the break and went on to a blowout victory.
The Doornekamp-Harmon inside/exterior combo was doing work. Scotty D. went 4-of-7 from three-point vary and completed with 25 factors. Harmon popped off for 23 factors and 14 rebounds on 9-of-20 capturing. Randolph Pompey, our 6’8 level guard, simply missed a double-double with eight factors and 10 assists. I’m already giving him a Tyrese Haliburton comp.
As for changing Spanky with Borchardt within the lineup …. we simply didn’t look proper within the first half. I’m beginning to remorse that transfer.
The win units up a recreation with No. 6 seed Texas A&M within the spherical of 32
We draw the Aggies within the second spherical. They’re considerably higher than Hartford, after all, however we’ll nonetheless have a noticeable expertise benefit towards them.
Earlier than the sport begins, we’re making a change to the beginning lineup: Fanning is again, Borch goes to the bench. I feel that was a galaxy mind substitution by coach in his outdated age. We seemed higher with Fanning on the ground towards Hartford, so we’re hoping that continues.
Candy 16 on the road. Let’s go!
Win, 96-77! For as soon as, we didn’t should depend on being a second half group. We crushed them proper out of the gates.
This was only a actually full efficiency from our guys. Everybody contributed. All 5 starters completed in double-figures, led by one other double-double from Vinnie Harmon (19 factors, 13 rebounds). Doornekamp was capable of hit pictures and get to the road, whereas Pompey (13 factors, seven assists, three steals) performed one other heady two-way recreation at level guard.
I additionally thought Fanning performed a terrific all-around recreation, and actually appears just like the connective tissue of this group. He completed with 13 factors, 5 assists, three rebounds, and two steals on 4-of-8 capturing.
Nice group win. Let’s hold it rolling.
The win units up a recreation vs. No. 2 seed Pepperdine within the Candy 16
Pepperdine has constructed a terrific program on this sim and have been constantly getting high seeds within the match. They’re principally what Gonzaga is IRL.
This might be our greatest problem of the match to this point. Can we punch our ticket to the Elite Eight? Let’s go!
Win, 103-95! It began to get slightly scary within the second half, however we held on for the win.
The starters actually carried us on this one. Harmon was superb once more in what was most likely his greatest recreation of the match to this point: 24 factors, 13 rebonds, six assists, and 5 blocks on 10-of-16 capturing. He’s already this system’s all-time main scorer and retains including to his status. If he carries us to a championship, does he have a GOAT case?
Harmon additionally did this within the recreation and I can’t cease desirous about it:
I like our backcourt a lot, too. Randy P. popped off for 20 factors and 13 assists with two steals and two blocks. Felt like among the finest level guard performances we’ve ever had. Doornekamp is simply the image of consistency. He completed with 21 factors on 7-of-12 capturing.
One other nice recreation for Spanky (15 factors, 4 assists), and Ernesto Mack performed effectively too. How about eight factors and a few threes from D.J. Stapleton off the bench!?! I’m loving the way in which we’re coming collectively proper now.
The win units up a recreation with No. 4 seed West Virginia within the Elite Eight
The Mountaineers are loaded. They enter the sport as a 98 total. We’re a 100 total.
West Virginia has a reasonably sick roster. They’re led by a pair of senior guards rated within the 90s, however it’s their entrance courtroom that has us shook. WVU has a 7-foot energy ahead, a 7’1 middle, and one other 6’11 huge man off the bench. Usually we have now an enormous measurement benefit within the entrance courtroom, however that gained’t be the case on this one.
I’m nervous. Remaining 4 on the road. One time, ‘Neck Nation. One time. Let’s go!
Win, 126-79! Holy hell, we dominated that recreation. It was such a blow out that we determined to sim to finish within the second half.
Simply take a look at our capturing numbers as a group: We hit 44-of-70 pictures from the sector (63 %) and 17-of-23 pictures from three-point vary (74 %). Did I point out we went 21-of-22 from the road, as effectively? We actually couldn’t miss.
Everybody was so good that it feels silly to name out particular person performances, however let’s do just a few shout-outs. RANDY. Our 6’8 lead guard went off for his second straight double-double with 15 factors and 10 assists. He’s so good. Scotty D. hung 22 factors on a completely easy 5-of-6 capturing from three.
The 2 connected for this alley-oop early within the recreation:
Harmon couldn’t make a layup, however did go 11-for-11 from the foul line. All 4 members of our bench kicked ass too, with every of them ending in double-figures in scoring.
That was such a killer efficiency. We’re onto the Remaining 4!
The win units up a recreation with Baylor within the Remaining 4
Baylor enters as a 98 total. We’re a 100 total.
We misplaced within the Remaining 4 final 12 months and we are able to’t fathom getting so shut solely to fall quick but once more. Baylor was a group we beat within the Candy 16 final 12 months, so I’m certain they’ve revenge on their thoughts.
We’re so near getting nationwide title No. 8. Don’t cease now, boys. Let’s go!
Win, 82-71! WE’RE IN THE NATIONAL TITLE GAME.
It wasn’t tremendous fairly, however we received the job accomplished. Scotty did it once more. Doornekamp went off for 26 factors on 11-of-19 capturing to hold us once more offensively. We wanted him on this one as a result of Harmon had his first weak recreation of the match, ending with solely seven factors however nonetheless including 13 rebounds and three blocks.
Pompey and Fanning had been nice too. Randy went off for 15 factors and 6 assists, whereas Spanky had 14 factors and 5 assists on 7-of-9 capturing from the ground. Spanky is the king of the pump pretend, apparently:
We might hold going, however why? We’re about to play for a nationwide title. Let’s get it.
The win units up a recreation with Louisville within the nationwide championship
It’s been 5 years since we final gained a nationwide title. That’s a very long time for this program.
If we need to catch John Wood’s 10 nationwide championships earlier than the collection ends after 12 months 40, we want to win this recreation to get No. 8 for us. We’re enjoying for all of the ‘Necks who fell simply quick earlier than us.
Solely Louisville is standing between us and a title. Let’s go!
Win, 82-73! Western Illinois are nationwide champs!
Say it with me: second half group! Louisville seemed nice within the first half, rattling our guards with a full courtroom press to take a four-point lead going into halftime. I used to be nervous, however I ought to have identified our guys are at all times higher within the closing 20 minutes.
Scott Doornekamp put a bow on an incredible match run by dropping 21 factors even when he was chilly from three-point vary (1-of-6). Pompey had his third double-double of the match run with 16 factors and 11 assists. He additionally had 4 steals and a block. Gosh, I like having a 6’8 level guard.
Louisville made a run late to make it fascinating within the closing minutes. It was a connection from Randy P. to Scotty D. that sealed the win for us.
We haven’t even talked about Harmon but. One other monster stat line of 18 factors, 22 rebounds, however he wanted 24 area objective makes an attempt to get there. Whereas this wasn’t his greatest recreation, Harmon was clearly unbelievable all through this run. He was already this system’s all-time main scorer. Now he has a nationwide championship for his GOAT argument, too.
Did I point out he was named match Most Excellent Participant? If the Macomb Every day says it, it have to be true.
Harmon ends his profession with 2,452 complete factors. I’d wish to think about a 40-something Roberto Djordjevic was within the stands to see the torch get handed.
Nationwide title No. 8! We’ll have seven seasons left earlier than the collection ends after 12 months 40. We’d like two extra nationwide titles to tie John Wood, and three to surpass him. Harmon and Fanning are graduating, however everybody else might be again. Scotty is projected as a primary rounder, so we’ll see what does. If he returns, we’ll be desirous about going back-to-back subsequent 12 months.
Holy cow, we simply had a 39-1 season. Possibly our greatest ever??? Let’s elevate the banner!
Please clap for my picture enhancing expertise.
Now it’s time to maneuver onto the offseason.
We now have been recruiting for 2 scholarships all 12 months. Whereas we didn’t land anybody on the early signing interval, we do have a participant able to commit on the primary day of the spring signing interval. Jerald Elliot, a 6’6 capturing guard out of Sacramento, is a ‘Neck.
I’m tremendous enthusiastic about this one. Elliott is ranked because the No. 35 total participant within the class and the No. 9 participant at his place. He averaged 14 factors per recreation and hit 40.9 % of his threes on the AAU circuit whereas additionally posting good defensive stats. We wanted a two-guard to go together with final 12 months’s four-man class and we expect Elliott is ideal for the job.
We misplaced out on Cecil Wilkins, the top-10 total level guard prospect we supplied, early within the season. We supplied his scholarship to a different capturing guard, Augustine Bruthelieus, as insurance coverage in case we didn’t get Elliott. Whereas we thought-about ditching our provide to Bruthelieus to seek for a giant man, he’s able to commit and is the highest-rated participant accessible.
Bruthelieus commits to Western Illinois a pair weeks later.
Bruthelieus is rated because the No. 42 total participant and No. 10 capturing guard. The San Diego native appears like he has some intriguing playmaking expertise and should finally find yourself getting moved to level guard.
I’m feeling good about this class! Now it’s time to make our schedule for subsequent 12 months:
Cyclone Problem, @ Washington State, vs. Indiana, @ UConn, vs. Illinois, @ Michigan State, @ Colorado State, @ Purdue, vs. Ohio State, @ Arizona
12 months 34
Right here’s a primary take a look at our roster for 12 months 34:
We begin the 12 months No. 4 within the polls.
Bruthelieus is rated as a 79 total with C+ potential. Hell yeah. Elliott is a 76 total with B- potential. Additionally superb. Each gamers will redshirt. We even have our sick freshman class from final 12 months becoming a member of the rotation after redshirting. I’m tremendous excited for them.
The next stream is tentatively scheduled for Sunday, March 8 at 8:30 p.m. on Twitch. Comply with my channel for updates. Go ‘Necks.