Toppers gaining health, confidence

Lucas Aulbach

A recent skid in Sun Belt Conference play hasn’t dampened the spirits of the Toppers, according to sophomore guard T.J. Price.

    Price, WKU’s leading scorer this season with 258 total points, said despite WKU’s recent struggles, the Toppers had one of their best practices of the year Monday.

    “Everybody is still in tune and everybody is going much, much harder and everybody’s making shots for the first time in practice,” Price said at a press conference Tuesday. “That’s a plus to see.”

    WKU’s new-found confidence may come from the depth the team continues to gain.

    The Toppers have been plagued by injuries this season, but many players who missed time have started to work their way back into the WKU lineup.

    Junior guard Caden Dickerson, who was sidelined for over a month with a separated shoulder after opening the year as a valuable sixth man and three-point threat, has become a part of the Topper rotation once again in the past two weeks.

    Sophomore guard Kevin Kaspar, who has been in and out of the lineup for much of WKU’s Sun Belt slate with a hamstring injury, has been playing his best ball of the season for the Toppers since he returned to the lineup as well. Kaspar, who averages 6.4 points and 2.6 rebounds per game, had a team-leading 14 points and four rebounds in WKU’s loss to Middle Tennessee State on Jan. 26.

Coach Ray Harper said Kaspar was the clear, bright spot in the blowout loss at MTSU.

    “Saturday was the first time I’ve seen him be able to do some things that he’s capable of,” Harper said. “That’s a good sign.”

    The Toppers should see another one of their most important pieces on the court again soon.

Senior point guard Jamal Crook was listed as doubtful for last night’s game against Troy, which was played after the Herald’s press deadline, but is expected to hit the court for the first time since Dec. 8 soon.

    “We’re happy to be as close to full strength as we have been in a while,” Harper said. “We’ve got about five weeks left here in the regular season, and hopefully we can get a little roll and start playing better.”

    Price said with the Toppers getting healthier, the good vibes from practice should translate to success coming down the stretch.

    “When you practice good, you play good, so hopefully we can carry it over,” he said.