A year ago Steve Tucker only had a month to put together his staff and his team as he only had two returning players. He was able to field a full squad, but injuries and attrition were tough on the Conqs as they faced a rugged 26 game Jayhawk Conference Schedule. Tucker believes that this year will be different for his Dodge City Community College squad. He has added to his coaching staff and has had a whole year to recruit a quality group of athletes that will look to take big strides in the 2018-19 season.
Once again the Conqs only have three returners, but all three saw significant minutes a year ago and started at different times in the season. Justice Dixon is the lone returner in the back court. As a freshman he started 22 games and averaged over 10 points a game and 4.2 assists per game. Dixon is expected to immediately give the Conqs a solid point guard to run the show. The front court sees two returning players in Kevin Howard and Jyrus Freels. Howard has the most starting experience returning as he started 23 games a year ago. The 6’8” forward will be looking to improve on the 7.7 points per game and 6.1 rebounds per game that he put up a year ago. Howard is expecting to see a difference in his game as he looks to be more of a perimeter threat than he was as a freshman. Freels will be leaned on to be a physical presence in the post for the Conqs. As a freshman he averaged 11.2 points per game and 6.7 rebounds per game as he started 20 games.
The Conqs have a very talented group of newcomers that will be relied upon to fill out the rotation. In the back court Mississippi Valley State University transfer, Jet Taylor, will be leaned on to be an impact player. His NCAA Division 1 experience will be key to adding a solid scoring option on the wing for the Conqs. Wing players Laurence Bryant, UniQue Mency, and Mason Seniguar will be battling to find time on the court. The development of one or two of those players will be key to the Dodge City offense. Dereon Edwards, Trey Hill, and Deon’Ta Tinker will all be competing for time at the guard spots. Hill and Tinker are both versatile offensive players that have the ability to be big offensive threats, while Edwards will add depth at the point guard position and could push the starter later in the year.
The frontcourt is where the most noticeable difference will be for Dodge City. Tucker has added a ton of size to the front court. Wichita freshman Joe Petrakis will look to make an immediate impact for the Conqs. The 6’9” forward is versatile and has the ability to work inside and outside. Mike Burns is another 6’9” forward that has a huge upside and should be a major impact player by the end of the season. K.J. Reckley will be looking to find time at the forward spots as well. He is a versatile 6’7” that has the ability to see time at either forward spot. Andrew Stuman and Damon’Tez McGary will both be leaned upon to add depth in the post. Stuman is a 6’8” transfer that give the Conqs athleticism in the middle. McGary is a physical bruiser in the post.
The Conqs schedule will be challenging as always. Although they will not be facing a 26 game conference schedule as they have in the past, they have added quality teams to their non-conference schedule. They will open with Sisseton Wahpeton College at home followed by Bethany College JV. The second weekend will see the Conqs face one of the premier two year programs in the nation as they will see South Plains College at the Seward County Classic. They will host the Conq Classic on November 16 and 17 facing Redland Community College and Hesston College, then travel to Lee College and a newly reinstated program at Grayson College on a swing through Texas. Conference play will start for the Conqs on November 28 when they travel to Independence Community College. As always the Jayhawk Conference will be a challenge as pre-season #4 Coffeyville and #8 Hutchinson are both on the slate.
In addition to Chris Hagan returning as an assistant coach in his second year, the Conqs have also added volunteer assistant coach Noah Croak to the staff. Croak comes to the program with great recruiting connections in Indiana and the Louisville area.