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Wednesday, 29 January 2020 18:50

Marauders Season Preview

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The Minnesota Marauders are coming off a great season where they found themselves winning the division and making it to the 2nd round of the playoffs. The team has made great strides in the past 2 seasons under, GM Jason Rouse, who has come in and completely changed the atmosphere to a winning culture. Once again pundits around the league have the Marauders finishing towards the bottom of the division which shows the lack of respect for this Minnesota franchise. This team has flourished as the underdog and let's hope they use this as motivation to prove everybody wrong once again. That being said, this team is super young and need the to step up or else it'll be no playoffs for them. GM Rouse spoke...


"We are very excited to get the season rolling and I believe once head coach Byron Davis dials in the lineup we'll be a hard team to beat. Last season, we came flying out of the gates on absolute fire and then cooled off for the rest of the season, we need to pace ourselves and become more consistent throughout the year. That comes with experience which we lack so the veterans that we do have need to step up and mentor these youngsters every chance they get. I believe we are a playoff team but an injury here or there and/or lack of team chemistry could put us in the lottery. Davis has his hands full right now trying to figure out a way to mesh this lineup to get the most production possible."

Coach Davis, was a long time assistant with the Anaheim Archers where he won 1 championship and made it to the Conference Finals 2 other times. The Marauders play a similar run and gun fast-paced style of offense so it was a no brainer to hire 45-year-old Davis, who can bring much needed knowledge to this franchise. Ironically, the Archers GM Eric Stelle hired long time Marauders coach Layne Hensley after last season to a 4 year $20 million contract which this team couldn't afford. Hensley, was with Minnesota for 5 seasons where he had his ups and downs but turned things around in 2024 before leaving. Coach Dallas Todd had to leave the franchise for personal reasons and sources have said he's at a Betty Ford Clinic to get treatment for abusing alcoholic beverages along with opioids on a nightly basis.

Let's meet some of the Marauders 2024 roster...


Starters:

C Ervin Holmes

The big man and team captain re-signed with the team this past off-season to a 5 year contract worth around 17.5 million per season. The 4 time All-Defensive First Team Center including the past 3 seasons is the rock of the team and without him they would be in big trouble. He came off a great season leading the league in rebounds but somehow was left at the All-Star team which he has only made once.

PF Tony Pence

The fan favorite and people's champion probably had the best off-season of anybody on the roster as he has came into camps in peak physical condition and also has added a few more moves to his repertoire on offense. The best passing big in the league signed a contract extension during last season which will keep him here for 4 more years.

SF Andrew Evans

Finally, the former 3rd overall pick in the 2024 draft will get quality minutes as the last 2 seasons he's been used sparingly because his lack of defense and ball handling. He's definitely the teams wildcard going into the year and players on the team think he's good for 20 points per game. The front office has gone all in on him and have tried to place players around him that will complement his game and deficiencies.

SG Andrew Lawler

A 3 point assassin a year ago shooting 49% from behind the arc and was named OBWL Most Improved Player. Also, he made the All-Star team for the first time and also was named All-League 3rd team. He had a rough off-season dealing with nagging injuries and didn't have the best of camps but the team still has high hopes that he can repeat last year's performance.

PG Larry O'brien

This was the teams best free agent acquisition this off-season and brings much needed leadership to the squad, as of right now he has won the starting job. The Marauders brought him in to handle the rock and don't necessarily need him to put up a bunch of points but will take whatever they can get from him. He's been underestimated for 5 seasons playing with 5 different teams after his glory years in Seattle where he was a starter and won a championship.


Bench Players:

C Hector Briley

The team 2nd best free-agent transaction and a very important part to this year's team. Right now he's being asked to play both positions down low and to focus on defense and rebounding. This will be the first time in his career where he'll get quality minutes so we'll see if he can stay in the rotation or not.

PF Darrin Weisman

The former first rounder in the 2025 draft only averaged 7.3 minutes per game and 68 games with the team last season. He's a rebounding machine but lacks post defense but can block the occasional shot. It seems like the coaching staff wants to take off his training wheels this season but will slowly work him into the lineup so expect to see the 22-year-old more on the court.

SF Harold Hostetler

The #26 pick in this year's draft and where the team traded next year's first rounder for the Inferno's first rounder this past draft.  He was brought in to do one thing and that is to play defense backing up Evans who's allergic to D. If the move backfires and the Marauders find themselves out of the playoffs and into the lottery, many will be revisiting this trade including me.

SG Jame Trotman

The #23 pick in this year's draft will be fighting for minutes at the backup shooting guard position. The coaching staff has expressed that they could go with several options for the spot right now so he's not guaranteed to see minutes this season. He was brought in to play great perimeter D and to hopefully be able to knock down some outside shots.

PG Preston Braun

The former Iowa Hawkeye spent his rookie season with one of the best franchises in the league, the Kansas City Pioneers. I really like this kid and think he can be productive at either PG or SG, but most likely will play minutes at both positions.  He can knock down the 3 pointer as he shot 34% from behind the arc a year ago. Also, he can handle the rock and play solid perimeter D.

SF Rubin Davis

He was the 12th pick overall in the 2025 draft and came over in the deal which sent Wallace Briseno to the hated Boston Turkey Vultures. Only 20 years old and is a very raw prospect right now so you'll find him playing in the D league once again.

SG Noel Black

Another piece that came over in the Boston trade and he's fighting hard to make the team's opening day roster. His game is similar to Evans as they are both super athletic and should have no problem getting to the basket anytime he wants. Absolutely no ball handling skills but can play a little better D than Evans. You can see him at either SG or SF and the coaching staff is trying to figure out a way to get him some minutes.

PG Francis Ellender

The former #5 pick in the 2025 draft and who started all 80 games for the team last year will find himself playing backup minutes at PG. The team struggled at times last season with, Ellender, running the point so they went out and grabbed O'Brien who's less turnover prone and can play a little bit of post D. Hopefully, Francis can learn from him and grow into the leader that we want him to be in the near future.

Others:

PF Darrick Chick
PF Chris Patten
PF Chris Hauck

The journeymen bigs will most likely be fighting it out for the last 2 roster spots.


The big question is... Is this team good enough to repeat last year's accomplishments?

They will count on the scoring of Pence, Evans and Lawler to carry them on the offensive side of the ball. Holmes and O'Brien must take on a role of being mentors to show all these youngsters how to be a professional basketball player.  I believe the Starting 5 is better than last year's even after losing SF Joey Short. They are a deeper team than a year ago but less experienced so will need some breakout years from multiple players off the bench. I doubt they can repeat as division champs but I got them penciled in as a playoff team. Marauders fans are more than excited to get this season rolling as season ticket sales are on the rise for the 2nd straight year. Let's hope these guys can stay healthy and make the playoffs for the 3rd straight season.

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