Hilltoppers host Austin Peay for season opener


New conference. New ambitions. New faces. Same tradition. The 2014-15 basketball season is ready to get rolling here on the Hill, and things begin tonight in Diddle Arena against the Ohio Valley Conference’s Austin Peay Governors. So much hype has been centered around this year’s Hilltopper team and with good reason, but before we focus on our boys in red, let’s shed some light on what the Governors have to offer for competition.

The Governors didn’t have too hot of a 2013-14 campaign as they suffered a record of 12-18, and closed out conference play 6-10. Despite the struggle of a season, Austin Peay looks to reload for the upcoming campaign as they return three players who averaged double figures in the scoring category. One of those players is the 6-8 center/forward Chris Horton who averaged 13.2 PPG, as well as 9.5 rebounds per outing and an impressive 92 blocks on the season. Right behind Horton is senior forward Will Triggs, who saw 12.1 PPG and 5.2 RPG. In addition to these guys, head coach Dave Loos brought JuCo transfers Assane Diop and Khalil Davis on board to help in the upcoming campaign. Along with these main impact players, the Bowling Green community will be able to welcome one of its own back to the Hill tonight as former Warren Central Dragon Chris Porter-Bunton will make the trip to face his hometown Hilltoppers.

More from Western Kentucky Hilltoppers

Moving on to WKU, words can’t express my excitement for what this season has the


to offer. The Hilltoppers have a mix of both experience and youth that if combined efficiently, can prove to be extremely effective. We have all grown to love the “Dynamic Duo” we call

T.J. Price


George Fant

, however, if you ask people around the Hill after Monday night, you’ll here a name that I think will echo around WKU basketball for years to come;

Justin Johnson

. If we flashback to the

first official practice of the season

, you will read that Johnson had completely missed my radar, and did impress those in the room, but still not to the extent that he did on Monday night. His unofficial inaugural collegiate game say him go for a double-double of 18 points and 10 boards in 21 minutes of play. I think Johnson will have a huge impact from here on out beginning tonight, and is going to be my main player to watch for the evening.

As for the rest of the Hilltopper squad, I think we see the most well rounded team in coach Ray Harper’s tenure here on the Hill. WKU has a solid eight guards on roster, all of which can contribute in some form or fashion. A key in this set of guards is the experience the guards are able to bring. Of course T.J Price comes to the top of the list, followed suit by Trency Jackson and Kevin Kaspar. I would even like to include Chris Harrison-Docks in that group as he is a redshirt sophomore, with his year spent on the bench at Butler University.

The post also has the same blessing, an array of talent that also has experience. Leading the front has to be George Fant, Alex Rostov and Ben Lawson, as the front two both have experience in an NCAA tourney setting. The one thing that makes WKU so much more dynamic is the ability to give these front guys a break. In years past, the Tops have been plagued with injury, having to rely on one or two guys to pick up the load. This year, you have three main guys, followed by youth that has the potential to take the reigns and bang down in the post with some of the best guys in the country (aka. Justin Johnson).

I think WKU will be on top of the Governors when the final buzzer sounds. The Hilltoppers just have too much talent and too many weapons on both ends of the court for Austin Peay to compete the entire 40 minutes. So folks, be sure to come on out to Diddle Arena tonight and get your very own dose of Hilltopper basketball action if you’re in the area.