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Whitworth men: Five keys to success

Experienced backcourt

Leadership on and off the court from their experienced backcourt, including senior point Wade Gebbers, off guard Dustin McConnell and sixth man Colton McCargar.

New big men

The emergence of post players to replace graduated Felix Friedt and Jack Loofburrow. Friedt was among the most dominant centers in recent Whitworth history, leading last year’s team in both scoring and rebounding, but several players have a chance to take that role.

Get out of gate

A fast start against one of the tougher early- season schedules in recent years. Whitworth opens with Idaho State, hosts national powers St. Thomas (Minn.) and Mary Hardin-Baylor; the Pirates open conference play at home against tough Puget Sound and PLU.

Acccuracy improvement

More consistent shooting from 3-point range, which was spotty late last season. The Whitworth big men will have to try to match Friedt’s ability to pass the ball back out to teammates for open 3-pointers.

Keep ’em coming

Developing more depth in the frontcourt. Zach Payne and Taylor Farnsworth will be critical players.