Western Illinois, Year 37, 2043-2044

Our Western Illinois dynasty has four seasons left in College Hoops 2K8. We need two titles to tie John Wooden’s record. Welcome back to our simulated dynasty with the Western Illinois Leathernecks in College Hoops 2K8. You can find a full explanation of this project + spoiler-free links to previous seasons here. Check out the introduction to this series from early April for full context. As a reminder, we simulate every game in this series and only control the recruiting and coaching strategies. Dynasty mode runs for 40 years. Before we pick up with the Leathernecks at the start of Year 37, here’s a recap of everything that happened last season: Coming off a heartbreaking loss in the Final Four, Western Illinois started the new season with a young roster featuring zero seniors. We began the year at No. 23 in the preseason polls and had a solid run in the non-conference schedule before uncharacteristically dropping two games against Summit League opponents. We rebounded to win the conference tournament and punch our ticket to the big dance. We earned a No. 7 seed to the NCAA tournament and beat Colorado State in the first round, and UNLV in the round of 32. We then lost in the Sweet 16 to NC State to end our season. We had no open scholarships, so didn’t land any new recruits. We did lose center Filipe Hopes early to the NBA draft after the season. Here’s a first look at our roster for Year 37: Our goal is to tie or surpass John Wooden for the most national championships in college basketball history before the series ends after Year 40. With four seasons left, we have eight national titles to Wooden’s 10. We need to start stacking championships ASAP, and we start the new year with a team that’s good enough to win it all. Everyone is back from last year’s team aside from center Filipe Hopes, who jumped to the NBA. With an intriguing four-man freshman class coming off their redshirts and set to join the rotation, we should have one of our deepest and most talented teams ever. We start the new year ranked No. 3 in the preseason polls. Let’s meet the starting lineup: PG Arvydas Hardy, 93 overall, redshirt senior: Hardy entered the program as our second-highest recruit ever (No. 12 overall), but hasn’t been able to fully live up to the hype yet despite some flashes of brilliance. Hardy is a huge lead guard at 6’4, 238 pounds, and he checks just about every box with his skill set. He’s blessed with a team-best 90 rating in three-point shooting, and he has A grades in passing and ball handling. Hardy’s only major weakness is that he’s often a little too passive offensively. We need to him to tap into his takeover scoring ability if we want to have a deep tournament run. Projected top pick out of Mesa, AZ with C- potential. SG Augustine Bruthelieus, 92 overall, redshirt junior: Bruuuu is a tough 6’5 guard who can man either backcourt spot. While he’s not exactly a knockdown three-point shooter (75 rating), Bru plays a physical brand of basketball by getting into the paint on offense and forcing turnovers on defense. He has A- ratings in passing and handling for a shooting guard, as well as B+ ratings in both offensive and defensive awareness. Just a solid all-around player even if he doesn’t have outlier size or a signature skill. Former No. 42 overall recruit out of San Diego with C+ potential. Projected lottery pick. SF Reece Mascoll, 93 overall, redshirt senior: A monstrous 6’9, 260 pound wing, Mascoll can play bully ball at the rim or stretch the defense with a high 70s rating in three-point shooting. We love that he has the versatility to play either forward spot, and can project as a primary scoring option at his best. After a big sophomore year coming off the bench, Mascoll’s tournament run as a junior wasn’t as dominant as we hoped. He decided to return for his senior year despite being a projected first round pick, and now should co-headline the team with Hardy. Former No. 40 overall recruit out of Riverside, CA with C potential. Projected top pick. PF Al Reece, 89 overall, redshirt senior: Reece has tremendous size at 7’1, 277 pounds for a natural power forward. He has the best shot blocking rating on the team (90 rating) and can slide easily to the five. Reece checks a lot of boxes for a ‘Necks big man, but there’s one thing that holds him back: he’s almost too aggressive offensively. He shouldn’t be taking more shots than Hardy, but that has happened often in stream games. We need him to be a role player rather than think he’s our star. Former No. 138 overall recruit from Glendale, AZ with C- potential. C D.J. Foster, 82 overall, redshirt sophomore: Foster is our lowest-rated starter in years, but we have no problem with that because he’s already proven to be a solid performer in tournament games. His best attribute is his size: at 7’2, 274 pounds, he’s able to protect the paint and rebound just by standing there. He also has more offensive game than you would expect, showing off a solid mid-ran

May 2, 2021 - SB Nation
Our Western Illinois dynasty has four seasons left in College Hoops 2K8. We need two titles to tie John Wooden’s record. Welcome back to our simulated dynasty with the Western Illinois Leathernecks in College Hoops 2K8. You can find a full explanation of this project + spoiler-free links to previous seasons here. Check out the introduction to this series from early April for full context. As a reminder, we simulate every game in this series and only control the recruiting and coaching strategies...