The Panthers did lose a pair of key performers from this past season in Anthony Hill and Tone Boyle, and there is little question that filling in those gaps will be a prime focus for Milwaukee when practice starts about three months from now.
But, UWM seems to have a pretty good base to start from, as the Panthers will likely have three of the league's top players in Tony Meier, Kaylon Williams and James Haarsma. The numbers can build an awfully good case for that.
Meier is the fourth-leading returning scorer in the Horizon League. His 12.0 points per game rank just behind Ray McCallum (13.5 ppg) and Chase Simon (13.5 ppg) of Detroit as well as Trevon Harmon (13.2 ppg) of Cleveland State. Just five of the top 20 league scorers from a season ago return.
Haarsma sat out last season after transferring from Evansville. But in 2009-10, he averaged 7.1 rebounds per game with the Purple Aces. That figure is the second-best among returning Horizon League players, with Eli Holman of Detroit leading the way at 9.6 rpg.
Williams is actually the fifth-leading returning rebounder, having averaged 5.6 boards per game last season. But we all know his forte is in dishing the ball out. He led the league in assists last season, so of course he is the leading returnee this season. But, he appears to be right around the top 20 of returnees nationally. Officially there were 22 ahead of him at the end of last season with eligibility remaining, but seeing a handful of early entries and/or transfers above him should place him just above that 20 mark.