ROCKFORD, Ill. - The Rockford University men's basketball team looks poised to contend for a berth in the conference tournament this year after falling just short last season. The Regents missed out on the final spot in the NACC Tournament a year ago by just a single game, with a 9-11 record in conference play. In Rockford's 11 conference losses during the 2017-18 season, eight games were decided by single-digits including six by five or less points. With a strong core of both returners and newcomers, Rockford looks to build upon last year's results and make a return to postseason play for the first time since the 2012-13 season.
The Regents return a plethora of players who saw significant playing time last season. Heading the group for Rockford is senior Tony Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) who started all 25 games a year ago and was named First Team All-NACC. Tony Diemer made his presence felt in the Northern Collegiate Athletic Conference last year as he finished fifth in points (18.0 ppg), sixth in offensive rebounds (56), seven in overall points (451) and ninth in free throw percentage (77.8). Another key returner is sophomore Kevin Diemer (Rockford, Ill.) who looks to build upon his impressive freshman campaign. Kevin Diemer led the team and was fourth in the NACC in free throw percentage (81.4), tied for the team lead in field goal percentage (48.0), fourth on the team in points per game (10.4) and was fifth in the NACC with 58 offensive rebounds. Returning as floor generals this year are sophomore Brandon Emerick (Elkhart, Ind.) and senior Will Adams (Chicago, Ill.). Both Emerick and Adams averaged over 10 points a game, while shooting at least 43.5% from the floor. Taylor Krocker (Portage, Wis.) will look to make his presence felt in the paint again this year both offensively and defensively. Kivontay Shaw (Galesburg, Ill.) and Talon Hardin (Rantoul, Ill.) round out the returners looking to make an immediate impact. Shaw returns to the court after missing all of the previous season with an injury, while Hardin hopes to provide the Regents with an additional threat from beyond the arc.
Rockford will rely on some fresh faces this year to help bolster and add depth to an already talented roster. Transfers Jeremiah Stewart (Chicago, Ill.), Timothy Zahm (Sycamore, Ill.) and Alonzo Mitchell (Rochester, Mich.) will try to use their size and athleticism to make an immediate impact for the Regents. The freshmen class looks promising this year as Denzel Halliburton (Elkhart, Ind.) and Christian Payne (Yorkville, Ill.) will fight for playing time, as both enter their freshman campaigns bringing accolades from their respective high school careers.
"We are very excited for this season, as the guys have built great team chemistry and we feel that it will lead to success on the floor," proclaimed Head Coach Andrew Weber. "A few things this team does very well are share the basketball and play with a ton of energy. We open the season with a tough non-conference schedule that will challenge and prepare us for conference play."
The Rockford University men's basketball team opens its season on Satuday, November 10 at Carroll University. Tip-off is set for 4 PM.