By BRIAN LESTER
The University of Findlay men's basketball team has an exhibition game on its schedule. The Oilers will play Dayton at 7 p.m. on Nov. 6 at the UD Arena.
I realize it's not the same as playing Duke. Not much can compare to that experience.
But there is nothing wrong with a game against the Flyers, who won the NIT championship in April with a 79-68 victory over 2009 NCAA champion North Carolina.
The Flyers finished 25-12 a year ago, the latest notch in their tradition of success, and will return a team that features NBA prospect Chris Wright.
Wright, the Flyers' leading scorer and rebounder from last season, pulled his name out of the draft this summer to return for his senior season
Wright has helped the Flyers win 75 games since his arrival on campus and NIT MVP Chris Johnson will be back as well.
UF, coming off a 24-7 campaign and ninth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II tournament, lost only one starter from last season's team in point guard Marcus Parker and will have four seniors on its roster this year in Nathan Hyde, Tyler Sparks, Jason Wehri and Michael Agunga.
Not to mention the fact that Aaron Robinson and Jack Smith are coming off solid freshmen seasons and the Oilers have added a talented recruiting class and transfers Kyle Caiola and Brad Piehl to its lineup.
The bottom line is the game between the Oilers and Flyers may only be an exhibiton encounter, but it will definitely prove to be a valuable experience for both teams as they go forward into the 2010-11 season.
Both teams wil be tested and both teams will learn a lot about their strengths and weaknesses.
On a side note, it's too bad UF couldn't set up an exhibition game with Ohio State.
With Aaron Craft (Liberty-Benton) and Jon Diebler (Upper Sandusky) playing for the Buckeyes and Hyde (L-B), Wehri (Ottoville) and Justin Schomaeker (Ottawa-Glandorf) playing for the Oilers, there would have been a cast of local talent on the floor. It would have set the stage for a great draw for a weekend game at Value City Arena.
At any rate, the Oilers have scheduled a quality opponent for its their exhibition game and I'm looking forward to seeing how the game plays out in November.