Perhaps no college basketball coach in the Pacific Northwest faces a bigger rebuilding job than Joddie Gleason at Eastern Washington.
Following a 6-17 season and the abrupt departure of several players, the Eagles dismissed 20-year coach Wendy Schuller.
On May 21, Eastern announced the hiring of Gleason, the winningest coach at Division II Humboldt State and more recently an assistant at Seattle University.
In quick order, Gleason assembled a new staff and added eight new players to the eight returnees.
“The team is working hard to learn our new system and I have no doubt that we will be ready for our preseason games in early November,” Gleason said.
Expectations are low – no surprise, as the offseason departures accounted the bulk of the scoring and rebounding. Also, the Eagles have just four upperclassmen on the roster.
Eastern was picked by coaches to finish last place in the 11-team Big Sky Conference. The media picked them 10th.
The Eagles open the regular season at home against San Jose State on Nov. 11. The Eagles also get Gonzaga and Boise State at Reese Court.
Guard Aaliyah Alexander, who averaged 10.7 points per game as a freshman, is EWU’s top returnee. Others – all underclassmen – include Nuria Cunil, a 6-foot-1 forward from Spain who had 17 blocks last year; Gabrielle Jung, a 5-10 guard (3.4 ppg); Kallie Schaplow, a 5-10 wing who saw action in 18 games last season; and Milly Knowles, a 6-1 forward from England.
Two graduate transfers figure to contribute immediately in the backcourt. They include Jordyn Boesel, a former Okanogan, Washington, star who played four years at Saint Mary’s; and Bria Rice, a Federal Way product who played at Arizona and UNLV.
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