Not surprised by this, of course. The USI senior center had a pair of games last week that were foreshadowed early in the season, before he hurt a knee, underwent surgery and sat out for about three weeks. He averaged 19.0 points, 11.5 rebounds, 3.0 blocks, and 3.5 assists in wins over No. 6 Bellarmine and McKendree last week. He shot 71.4 percent (15-for-21) from the field and 66.6 percent from the line (8-for-12). The back-to-back double-doubles were his third and fourth of the season. Of those two games, the most impressive was his effort against Bellarmine, when he scored 18 points, grabbed 12 rebounds, dished out four assists, shot 75 percent from the field (6-for-8) and was 6-for-6 from the foul line.To really get a feel of how DeWitt plays the game, take a look at this photograph that USI posted with its announcement of his GLVC award. I don’t think I’d want to be a member of the opposition when he gets that look in his eyes.
If DeWitt plays like that the rest of the season, USI will be an extremely difficult team to beat. But he won’t be able to do it alone. The Eagles’ opponents, now that they’ve seen that the original DeWitt has returned, will concentrate more on stopping him. That will open up scoring for other USI players, especially inside. Now we’ll see if a healthy Taylor Wischmeier continues his play from Saturday at McKendree (18 points) and if forward Manny Ogunfolu can find his groove. Since Aaron Nelson’s season-ending knee injury, USI has won three of its last four games, three in a row of late. The Eagles also won when DeWitt was sidelined, with Nelson taking his place. Only briefly were they together in the lineup at the same time.
I think it will work out. Wischmeier is a much different player than Nelson, but is much more mobile. He’s a better fit with USI’s running style after spending two years in it. That’s the other thing about Wischmeier: experience. He’s been through this twice already; he knows what’s coming up, the challenges ahead. Do not be surprised if he becomes even better than he was early in the season. But there should be no surprises for him in the weeks ahead — only for opponents.