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Men’s Basketball Preview: Simon says- time for a fresh start

Rashaun+Agee+surveying+the+defense
Drake Harlett
Rashaun Agee surveying the defense

The 2023 season marks the beginning of a new era for the men’s basketball program at Bowling Green: the Todd Simon era.  

After finishing last season with a disappointing 11-20 record, losing 10 of the last 11 games and missing the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament for the second year in a row, BG moved on from former head coach Michael Huger after eight seasons.  

Simon, the former Southern Utah head coach, is replacing Huger and leading the Orange and Brown this season. 

But is he the only replacement?

Absolutely not.

Let’s look at the roster:

New Roster  

Just four Falcons are returning from last season: forwards Rashaun Agee, Sam Towns and Jamai Felt, along with guard Anthony McComb III.   

Agee, Towns and McComb represent under 20% of the minutes played by the entire BGSU team last season. Felt, who redshirted, did not play last season.  

With the limited number of contributors returning from last season, Simon faced the challenge of virtually rebuilding Bowling Green’s roster as an incoming head coach.  

“Building the roster was a day-one job, especially with the portal and graduates. We knew we were going to have to rebuild it almost entirely, especially with 10 new players,” Simon said. “So, five minutes after the press conference, and before the ink was even dry, we knew we needed to build a roster.”  

Simon and his staff added ten new players to the roster over the summer: Guards Marcus Hill, Trey Thomas, DJ Smith, DaJion Humphrey, PJ Edwards, Da’Shawn Phillip, EJay Greer and JZ Zaher, along with the newest brother tandem in forward Greg Spurgin and center Jason Spurgin.  

Simon believes that the new additions to the roster fit the program that he is looking to build.  

“We just wanted great players, and we trust our evaluation. We have a very distinct system that we build to, and we looked for fits to us. More importantly, we’re recruiting people, not just players,” Simon said. “So, we find guys with the growth mindset that want to be coached and get better, and we think we have found a great group that can do that.”  

The most publicized addition to the roster this season is Jason Spurgin. Jason Spurgin, who led Southern Utah and finished second in the Western Athletic Conference in blocks last season, is the only player who followed Simon from the Thunderbirds to the Falcons.  

Spurgin, who is 6 feet 11 inches tall, will be a key piece for the Falcons this season.  

“Jason’s an aircraft carrier. He kind of gets everything in line and allows everyone else to kind of ease into their roles,” Simon said. “He’s an interpreter, he’s a culture builder and he leads by example. We knew those qualities were going to help us rebuild faster.”  

New Culture and System  

Under Simon, the Falcons are building a new culture for the men’s basketball program at BGSU. 

“Culture is built either by design or default. If you’re not coaching [culture] every day and you’re not holding that standard every day, you’re building something else that’s not what you want,” Simon said. “That’s the consistency part of what my whole role in this project is to have expectations and meet them. It’s an ongoing thing.”  

Simon’s plans for rebuilding the men’s basketball program at BG all revolve around culture.  

“Once he came to me and told me the good things he had in plan for this program, it was all about changing the culture. I think our biggest problem was our culture, and he’s really here to instill a new culture here and bring a winning attitude to the new Bowling Green,” Towns said. “We’re creating a whole new program here; it’s a new face, a new era.”  

On top of adding more size, the Falcons will look to be a team that plays fast and scores a lot of points.   

“Fast, we got a lot of skill. We’re a lot bigger than we were last year, I’ll say that. We’re going to play a lot faster than we did last year. Everybody can be ready for that; we’re going to play really fast,” Towns said. “I think the biggest thing is the speed of how we’re playing. It’s more like an NBA type of feel to it, where we’re taking a lot of high percentage shots, and we’re running fast, we’re playing hard, we’re pressing, you’ll see.”  

Goals for the season  

While the Falcons would love to win the MAC this season or even make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1968, Simon wants to make the MAC Tournament first.  

“I’m one of those guys that if we scheduled 31 games, I want to win all 31. I think making the MAC Tournament needs to be something we do every year in, year out, and this team certainly has that expectation,” Simon said.  

Although the Falcons have to make the MAC Tournament first, the ultimate goal is always to leave Cleveland with a MAC Championship at the end of the season.  

“That’s all I really want, is to win a MAC Championship; get back up to Cleveland and win those three games,” Towns said.  

The Orange and Brown will open up their season at home against Chicago State on Monday, November 6, with tipoff set for 7 p.m. 

For more stories related to BGSU Athletics, follow Falcon Media Sports Network on X (@bg_fmsn).

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