By Brian Yauger
With the men’s and women’s basketball teams officially unveiling their schedules, it’s almost basketball season once again at Youngstown State University.
Both teams have posted their nonconference schedules, and there’s plenty to be interested in.
Big Name Opponents
The men’s team faces two Power Five schools this season.
After opening the season against Thiel College, the Penguins travel down to the University of Louisville to take on the Cardinals. Right before Christmas, a basketball powerhouse will square off against YSU at the Covelli Centre as West Virginia University comes to town.
Last season the Penguins faced three Power Five programs: the University of Pittsburgh, West Virginia, and the Ohio State University and lost all three. They had success against Ohio State early before losing the game 75-56.
The women’s team has a slate of matchups against Mid-American Conference teams. First, the team welcomes Kent State University in its second game of the year. Later on in the month it hosts Eastern Michigan University and travels to the University of Akron.
Last season, the Penguins split their time against the Mid-American Conference with a win against Akron and a loss against Kent State.
All Warmed Up
The Penguins played three games in the U.S. Virgin Islands in August to prepare for the year. They beat the U.S. Virgin Islands’ all-star team and beat a top Canadian program in the University of Calgary twice.
The games were exhibition games, so don’t expect to see the Penguins beginning the year 3-0, but getting some live games of basketball in can only help them when the real season starts.
The women’s team got to play spoiler in its last regular season game against a Power Five team, beating Pittsburgh 64-55. The team looks to do it again when it makes a trip to the University of Indiana in the middle of December.
Both benches will have some new faces this upcoming season.
Chinedu Nwachukwu joins the men’s program from the University of Michigan, where he worked with now-Cleveland Cavaliers coach John Beilein as the director of player personnel.
Another addition to the men’s bench is Ethan Faulkner. Faulker is a 2014 graduate of Horizon League rival Northern Kentucky University and is in the top 10 in assists as a player there.
Joining the women’s team are three new names. The new director of player personnel is Jason Pacanowski. Some fans may remember Pacanowski’s name, as he was the director of operations for the men’s basketball team for five seasons from 2008-2013. He was a teacher and basketball coach for nearby Beaver Local High School.
The new director of basketball operations for the women’s team is Amber Reeves. Reeves is a 2017 graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington where she spent the last two years as a graduate assistant.
Lastly is assistant coach Autumn Rademacher. Rademacher is quite familiar with the Horizon League after spending her time coaching with the University of Detroit Mercy, where she also played in college, and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. She was the head coach at her alma mater from 2008-2015 and gave the team its first back-to-back 20-win seasons since the 1980s.
The 2019-2020 basketball season opens Nov. 5 with a doubleheader. The men’s team opens its season against Thiel, and the women’s team begins its year against Canisius College. Times are not yet announced.