Wellman, Theokas won’t return next season

Kip Wellman/WKUsports.com

Cole Claybourn

The offseason is young for WKU, but change is already occurring.

Head Coach Ray Harper on Wednesday said assistant Kip Wellman and Andrew Theokas, director of basketball operations, will not return to WKU next season.

Assistant coaches Lawrence Brenneman and Jake Morton will return to WKU though, Harper said.

Harper gave Wellman high praise but said he wanted someone with a little more experience next season.

“He’s too good to be in the position he had been in prior to that,” Harper said. “He needs to be at the Division I level on the road and he will.”

Wellman was promoted to assistant coach after previous head coach Ken McDonald was fired in January. He previously served as director of player development and video coordinator.

Theokas was hired as director of basketball operations in September 2010 and held the role until recently.

“Can’t thank them enough for their efforts and what they’ve done for this program,” Harper said. “They’re both not only good coaches, but good human beings. They’re going to move on and do someone a great job.”

Harper not expecting any transfers

All the members of the talented freshman class that helped lead WKU to a Sun Belt Conference Tournament are expected to return next season, Harper said.

He also said he’s excited about the return of junior guard Caden Dickerson, sophomore forward Stephon Drane and freshman guard Kevin Kaspar — all three of which sat out significant time this past season due to injuries.

“You return potentially your best perimeter shooter in Caden Dickerson, a guy in Kevin Kaspar that I think had gone five games without a turnover before his injury and Stephon Drane with much length and I know a hunger to be on the court,” Harper said. “I think all three of those will add some fuel for us next season.”

If the roster stays intact, WKU will have one scholarship available for next season.

Harper said he’s spent the two weeks since WKU’s season ended on March 15 on the road recruiting.

“We just need to get some good players,” he said. “We feel like we got some really good pieces returning. We’re young, but they need some help and it’s our job to make sure we go fill those needs.”

Harper talks program’s future

The players were given a little time off from basketball-related activities once their season ended, which Harper said was important. He wanted to give them some time to “be a college student” and catch up in classes.

But once they hit the ground running in practice again, Harper said he’s expecting some vast improvements.

“We finished strong and to be able to finish in the NCAA tournament was quite an achievement, but we need to continue to improve,” he said.   

“Consistently playing in March and postseason, to be a team that can look to Selection Sunday and expect to have our names called — that’s got to be a goal of this basketball team as we move forward. It’s going to be difficult, but I think it’s possible.”