Monday, November 2, 2020

Men's Basketball: Wendling, Stallworth take aim on GLVC Tournament

Athens High School graduate Matt Wendling had to find another outlet at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, which arrived just days following the end of the University of Illinois Springfield men’s basketball 2019-20 season.

The senior guard recently reunited with the rest of the team for the first time since the pandemic on Oct. 15 for the first day of official practice. Players may be required to wear masks virtually at all times unless they’re on the court, but hey, it’s something.

“There’s nothing like playing five on five,” Wendling said.

Wendling, a 6-foot-6 transfer from Carl Sandburg College, emerged as one of the team’s most reliable contributors in coach Matt Brock’s first season averaging 10.1 points and 3.9 rebounds per game. His scoring average ranked fifth best on the team.

“It was a good year coming in with a new system,” Wendling said. “There was a lot to learn and a lot that we can certainly improve on. But I think moving forward we’ll be even better this year. We know the foundation that coach wants and it’s just us implementing it and keeping that high standard that he loves and work as hard as we can.”

UIS last reached the GLVC Tournament in 2016 and has only qualified four times since joining the league in 2009.

“It’s going to be tough but I think we got the right guys and the right coaches to do it,” UIS senior forward Collin Stallworth said. “We just have to control what we can control.”

This story appeared in The State Journal-Register on October 31, 2020.