Coach Ben McCollum is the master chef in a special Bearcat recipe that has the perfect amount of each ingredient.
Each of McCollum’s eight rotating athletes has played an intricate role in assembling a Bearcat team that shows potential in making a national championship run.
Deep in McCollum's recipe book contains three main ingredients of stars, two role players and a sprinkle of three other athletes that that give McCollum’s dish that special kick.
The first main ingredient in McCollum’s recipe for success and the Bearcats’ 26-1 regular season is none other than two-time MIAA player of the year Justin Pitts.
The junior guard has been a magician on the court, dishing out assists, points and a highlight reel bucket at least once per game. For the remainder of the postseason, expect to see Pitts play a little more than 38 of the possible 40 minutes of play.
The next ingredient is a heavy dose of the Bearcats’ all-time leading three-point shooter Zach Schneider.
The 6-foot-7-inch forward has been the go-to senior voice on this decorated men’s team. Schneider leads by example but also does most (pretty much all) of his damage from beyond the arc. Schneider will play for a similar amount of time as Pitts on the court.
The final main ingredient in this super Bearcat squad includes Chris-Ebou Ndow. The Stavanger, Norway native has been a diverse weapon across all spectrums of the basketball stat sheet.
Ndow can find the hoop both from beyond the arc and down low in the paint. The power forward provides stability and recognizes his role on the team. Some nights he may have nine points, other nights he may have a career-high 27 points.
As the postseason progresses, Ndow is an athlete to watch, as he will be the biggest factor in the men’s championship run.
Up next in McCollum’s recipe includes two steady performances from starter Brett Dougherty and off-the-bench spark D’Vante Mosby.
These two may seem underrated at first glance, but provide certain aspects to the game that is essential in a top-5 Division II basketball team.
Dougherty is considered to be the garbage man. The junior cleans up after his teammates’ messes including missed shots, loose balls and scrappy rebounds.
Dougherty may not be the perfect big man, but like everyone on this squad, he knows his role and excels at doing what he does best, giving 110 percent each moment he is on the hardwood.
Dougherty’s teammate, Mosby, possesses a motor that only few athletes on the planet can comprehend.
The William Jewell transfer is the ultimate team player on a group of superstars.
Once dominating his position at Jewell, the Bearcat comes off the bench and has taken on the nickname as the energy bus, providing a fire that only his own teammates can control.
Sprinkle in athletes such as the physical Anthony Woods, multidimensional Xavier Kurth and freshman sensation Ryan Welty and the recipe is complete.
Woods can make his own plays with the ball. The senior gives starting point guard Pitts the necessary rest and recoup, while also locking down some of the most elite guards in the country.
Kurth handles the little details that do not appear on the stat sheet. Every team needs this type of player, and junior fits the bill. Kurth’s rise as an all-around guard puts him in a possible X-factor position come late in the postseason.
Last but not least is the deadly 3-point specialist, Welty. He is shooting an incredible 67 percent from deep and has done what most freshman can only dream of.
All of these special ingredients have formed a recipe for disaster, not for Northwest, but for any team that may stand between the Bearcats and the program’s first national crown.