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April 1, 2000

1999-2000 MEN'S BASKETBALL REVIEW

1999-2000 AUGUSTANA MEN'S BASKETBALL IN REVIEW

 

JOHN BENEDETTI NAMED MOST OUTSTANDING

PLAYER FOR VIKINGS IN GREY GIOVANINE'S FIRST YEAR

 

Before the 1999-2000 men's basketball season started, first year Augustana College head coach Grey Giovanine assured anyone who would listen that his Vikings would play hard and improve as the year went on. Giovanine knew that his team was going to be young and inexperienced and his goal from the beginning was lay the foundation for the future.

 

By all accounts he did exactly that as the Vikings finished the year 10-15 overall and 4-10 in the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin.

 

"We felt that the most important thing to be gained from this season was to establish a style of play and approach to practice and games that would serve us well in the years to come," said Giovanine. "We knew that we had some physical limitations but out players learned what we expected from them. We challenged them in practice and asked them to be mentally ready each time we took the court."

 

An objective yearlong observer would have to admit that the energetic and intense first year head coach accomplished what he set out to do.

 

Heading into the season the Vikings were severely limited by the fact that three starters graduated off a team which was 14-11 in 1998-99 which was Steve Yount's final campaign. Off a team which averaged 67.9 points per game, only 14.7 was on hand when Giovanine sent his team out to open the 1999-2000 season against defending NCAA Division III national champion Wisconsin-Platteville. The result in that first game was fairly predictable as the Pioneers had their way with the Titans to the tune of an 80-54 shellacking.

 

From that 26 point loss, however, Giovanine began to plant the seeds which is sure to grow a big winner in the Carver Physical Education Center before too long. After a loss to Mount St. Clare by a score of 82-68 in the home opener on December 1, the Vikings finally got their coach into the win column with a 73-61 triumph over Clarke College on December 4.

 

After a loss to Beloit on December 8 left the record at 1-3, the Blue & Gold went on a little run with victories in four of the next six games. Heading into the conference season the Vikings were 4-5 but lost the first four league games and were 4-9 overall after a 71-50 loss at North Park on January 15. That may have been the low point of the season but it also may be where Giovanine's approach started to pay dividends.

 

A four game winning streak ensued and by the end of the year Augustana had victories over Wheaton and Illinois Wesleyan, the teams which finished second and third respectively in the CCIW.

 

"I was proud of the way our guys competed," said Giovanine. "They did everything we ever asked of them and I think that means a lot for the future of our program."

 

Senior point guard John Benedetti (Fremd HS, Palatine, IL) was selected as the Most Outstanding Player at the annual team banquet which was held on March 9. Benedetti, a third team all-conference performer, led the Vikings in scoring with an 11.6 per game average. Benedetti scored a total of 290 points in 25 games and he led the team in assists with 99 and was second in steals with 34.

 

A four-year letterwinner and two-year starter, Benedetti shot .768 (76 of 99) from the free throw line. During his career he shot .751 (157 of 209) from the free throw line. He winds up ranked eighth in Augustana history in career three point field goals made with 82 (82 of 246). His 246 attempts are the sixth highest career mark.

 

Despite playing in just 13 games, freshman Tim Williams (Rich South HS, Richton Park, IL) was tabbed as the team's best rebounder. He pulled down 85 for an average of 6.5 per game.

 

Freshman Mike Nee (York HS, Elmhurst, IL) was selected as the Best Defensive Player and Todd Moser (Barrington HS, Barrington, IL) was the junior varsity MVP.

 

1999-2000 AUGUSTANA VIKINGS MENS BASKETBALL LETTERWINNERS

 

Name

Pos

Ht

Wt

Yr

Hometown (High School)

John Benedetti****

G

6-0

180

Sr

Palatine, IL (Fremd)

Brian Berndt*

F

6-3

195

Jr

Pekin, IL (Pekin)

Jake Brewster*

G

6-0

190

So

East Moline, IL (United Township)

Roger Bussan*

C

6-6

250

Sr

East Dubuque, IL (Galena)

Mark Johnson*

G

6-1

170

Fr

Carol Stream, IL (Glenbard North)

Steve Lamberti*

C

6-5

195

Jr

Streamwood, IL (Streamwood)

Zac Larson**

F

6-3

190

Jr

Davenport, IA (DavenportCentral)

Michael Nee*

G

6-2

180

Fr

Elmhurst, IL (York)

Adam Rue*

C

6-10

220

Fr

Granville, IL (Putnam County)

Aaron Splear**

C

6-6

185

So

Herscher, IL (Herscher)

Todd Swanson****

F

6-6

195

Sr

Sherrard, Il (Sherrard)

Adam Talbot*

G

6-0

170

So

Kewanee, IL (Kewanee)

Tim Williams*

C

6-6

218

Fr

Richton Park, IL (Rich South)

 

HEAD COACH: Grey Giovanine

ASSISTANT COACHES: Tom Jessee & Michael Crawford.

 

 

1999 AUGUSTANA VIKINGS AWARD WINNERS

 

MOST OUTSTANDING PLAYER:

John Benedetti

 

BEST REBOUNDER:

Tim Williams

 

BEST DEFENSIVE PLAYER:

Mike Nee

 

JUNIOR VARSITY MVP:

Todd Moser

 

1999-2000 COLLEGE CONFERENCE OF ILLINOIS & WISCONSIN STANDINGS

 

(FINAL LEAGUE STANDINGS)

 

 

 

CCIW

 

 

OVERALL

 

TEAM

W

L

.PCT

W

L

.PCT

Carthage

11

3

.786

22

4

.846

Wheaton

10

4

.714

19

6

.760

Illinois Wesleyan

9

5

.642

17

8

.680

Millikin

7

7

.500

15

10

.600

North Park

7

7

.500

16

9

.640

Augustana

4

10

.286

10

15

.400

North Central

4

10

.286

8

17

.320

Elmhurst

4

10

.286

12

13

.480

 

NOTE: Carthage earned CCIW's automatic berth into NCAA Division III national tournament and after receiving first round bye, the Redmen were defeated by Wisconsin Eau Claire on Saturday, March 4 by a score of 74-62 in a game played in Kenosha, Wisconsin.