BELOIT - As a player, Josh Hinz scored more points than any Beloit College Buccaneer in history, racking up 1,915 during his career from 2002-06.
He begins his head coaching career tonight as his Bucs head to Kenosha to play Carthage (7 p.m. tipoff).
Hinz was promoted from assistant coach after Brian Vraney resigned after 12 seasons, including last year's 8-17 campaign (6-12 MWC).
"We have a nice core of players back and it helps having as many returners who've played significant minutes in the past," Hinz said. "They won't be shocked as to the level of competition we play."
That core includes All-MWC Second Teamer Tristan Shoup, who ranked among the top five in the league in scoring (19.5 ppg) and rebounding (7.6). The 6-folot-5 senior already has 1,116 career points. The returnees also include Andrew Walters (11.8 ppg., 11.1 rpg), Mason Jones (7.4 ppg, 2.1 rpg), Daren Empereur (7.2 ppg) and Dan Babb (7.1 ppg) and several others who started at different times last season.
"Tristan has had a real good pre-season and he's one of the top players in the conference," Hinz said. "Andrew Walters led the conference in rebounding and Tristan was third. Dan Babb had a nice push toward the end of last season and I hope he stays aggressive. We're going to be a little undersized. We're going to have to get creative when Tristan is off the floor."
That will start tonight with a tall Carthage team boasting two 6-foot-11 players on its roster.
The Bucs look forward to having both Jones and Empereur healthy to start the season. Both missed significant minutes last season due to injury.
"Last year we couldn't find a consistent lineup and the majority of that was injury-based," Hinz said. "We were playing pretty well before Daren was hurt and I don't think its a coincidence we struggled when he went out.
"Every team goes through it at some point. All you can do is make sure you prepare all your guys because you never know when your number is going to be called."
Hinz will have plenty of options. He has 26 players on his roster, including about a dozen freshmen and two transfer students. The newcomers include several area fans should be familiar with: Michael Polakoski from East Troy, JT Toepfer from Lake Mills, Kam Bach from Beloit Memorial, Logan Eischeid from Big Foot and Korey Yarc from North Boone.
"We added some very talented guys," Hinz said. "Polakoski was a great player on a really good team. He can put the ball in the basket. Toepfer and Eischeid are definitely good shooters and Caden Anderson (from Westmont, Ill.) has been doing really well in practice."
Beloit's incoming transfers are 6-4 sophomores Demajaie Walton, who prepped at Collins Academy in Chicago and Chamar Flanigan from Glenbard North, who was recruited by North Park, but never played there due to an injury, as well as Kenny Huynh from Central Maine Community College.
Hinz said it won't be a shock to see any of the younger players vying for playing time.
• The Bucs 2019-20 schedule follows:
Nov. 12 - at Carthage, 7 p.m.; 16 - at Coe, 3 p.m.; 23 - at Wisconsin Lutheran, 7 p.m.; 26 - ROCKFORD UNIVERSITY, 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 4 - RIPON, 5:30 p.m.; 7 - at Lawrence, 1 p.m.; 11 - MSOE, 7 p.m.; 18 - UW-WHITEWATER, 7 p.m.; 20 - ALMA COLLEGE< 6 p.m.
Jan. 3 - at Cornell, 5:30 p.m.; 4 - at Monmouth, 1 p.m.; 8 - at Lake Forest, 5:30 p.m.; 11 - at Illinois College, 1 p.m.; 15 - ST. NORBERT, 5:30 p.m.; 18 - MONMOUTH, 1 p.m.; 21 - at Ripon, 5:30 p.m.; 25 - LAWRENCE, 1 p.m.; 31 - KNOX, 5:30 p.m.
Feb. 1 - ILLINOIS COLLEGE, 1 p.m.; 5 - at Grinnell, 5:30 p.m.; 8 - LAKE FOREST, 1 p.m.; 12 - at St. Norbert, 5:30 p.m.; 15 - at Knox, 1 p.m.; 18 - GRINNELL, 5:30 p.m.; 22 - CORNELL, 1 p.m.