Team preview: Centenary
Blue Ribbon Illustrated previews the 2004-05 college basketball season, exclusively on Insider.
In its first year in the Mid-Continent Conference, Centenary made the adjustment from an independent better than just about anyone expected.
The fact that four starters and seven of its top scorers were back certainly helped matters.
"I thought we made a tremendous statement with our program with what we've accomplished the last few years," coach Kevin Johnson said. "It culminated last season with a veteran and senior team."
Centenary's lone home blemish came in a three-point loss to LSU on Jan. 3 at the CenturyTel Center in Bossier City. Otherwise, the Gents went 13-0 at the Gold Dome and established the best home-court dominance in the conference.
That the Gents did this in their first season in the Mid-Continent impressed even Johnson.
"There was a good feeling around campus," he said. "No one knew what to expect. We knew we had a couple players that were exciting to watch. I was excited to see that we were able to be competitive right away."
The Gents, who tied for second in the conference, were more than competitive. Centenary got hot in the middle of the conference season, winning 7-of-9 games, including four in a row. Wins over IUPUI and Valparaiso showed that Centenary was a force to be reckoned with and not just a pretender. The season ended abruptly with double-digit losses to Chicago State, the last one being in the Gents' conference tournament debut.
All things considered, though, life in a conference for the first time in half a decade (Centenary was in the Trans-America Athletic Conference before becoming an independent for four seasons) wasn't all that bad.
What might be is the harsh reality that Andrew Wisniewski (21.9 ppg, 4.3 apg, 1.6 spg) no longer wears maroon and white.