As the Cougars look to make history this season they will have four returning starters -all seniors- leading the way. The most important of those four is forward Matt Ross. Last year Ross, along with the now graduated Jeremy Robinson, upheld the Chicago State front court. They were the foundation that led CSU to it’s first conference title.
Ross doesn’t have Robinson by his side anymore, but he is still a forced to be reckoned with. At 6-8 and 220 pounds, the Dixon native will once again provide the size, force and power that CSU will need to compete this year. Moving into a new conference this year (Western Athletic) will create new challenges, but Ross will be ready to meet them head on.
He will meet them head on not only because of his physical ability, but also because of the supporting cast around him. Not to mention the fact that head coach Tracy Dildy is always in-sync with his players. Ultimately, Dildy’s guidance will be what pushes Ross to strive for great things. At the end of the day, it will be Ross’ leadership on the court that will help guide the Cougars back to the postseason.
During the 2012-2013 season, Ross was second on the team in minutes per game (30.4), second in points per game (10.1) and first in rebounds per game (6.3). He led the team in field goal percentage (.437) and blocks per game (1.0). He also led the team in total blocked shots with 32, and total rebounds with 207.
It is these type of numbers have put Ross in a leadership position. With Robinson now gone, those numbers will have to increase. Ross will be tested early as Chicago State starts the season with a road trip to Indiana next Friday. They will also make road trips during the early part of the season to DePaul, Illinois, Cincinnati and Creighton. They will also have a tough early-season home matchup with Wisconsin-Green Bay.
How Ross performs in these early challenges will set the tone for the rest of the season. If he can continue to play at a high level, then the Cougars have a good chance at getting another postseason berth.
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