NIU Men's Basketball Announces Team Captains

DeKalb, Illinois – Northern Illinois head men's basketball coach Ricardo Patton announced on Friday that his staff has selected Darion "Jake" Anderson (Chicago, Ill./Carver Military Academy), Sean Kowal (Saint Louis, Mo./Desmet Jesuit/Colorado) and Xavier Silas (Austin, Tex./Brewster Academy (N.H.)/Colorado) as the Huskies' team captains for the 2008-09 campaign.

While Michael Patton (Boulder, Col./Boulder/Solebury School (PA)) was named the ‘Captain In-Training'.

"This group of student-athletes represents the core values of our program," Patton said. "These are guys that have worked extremely hard both on the floor and in the classroom.

"They're here for the right reasons because they want to graduate with a degree and help build a great basketball program," Patton continued. "I think they have showed the willingness to wear their hard hats every day in practice and lead by example."

Anderson, the 2008 Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year, led the Huskies in scoring (12.2 ppg.) and was second on the squad in rebounding (5.1 rpg.) in his rookie season.

"Jake was the freshman of the year last year and is very mature," Patton said. "He has a tremendous upside and has really become more of a vocal leader."

Kowal, who sat out last season due to NCAA transfer guidelines, is eager to get back on the court for the Huskies. As a freshman for Colorado, the 6-11 center appeared in 27 games for the Buffaloes.

"Sean's experience, having transferred here from Colorado and sat out all last season is difficult on any athlete," Patton said. "To sit by and watch his teammates go through the rigors of a full season and not be able to.

"He has evolved over the course of the last year or so and is really more vocal than when he first arrived," Patton continued. "I think it's his time."

Despite having to sit out the 2008-09 campaign, Patton and his staff thought highly enough of Silas, a former Colorado recruit, to select him as a team captain. In two seasons with the Buffaloes, Silas averaged 10.9 points per game with 36 starts in the 48 games that he played.

"We felt that Xavier Silas' maturity and experience with playing in the Big 12 for his first two years should lend itself to leading a very young group and having a first hand look at what the team is going to face this year in the MAC Conference," Patton said.

Patton was selected as the ‘Captain In-Training' for the 2008-09 campaign in order to prepare him for when he's an upperclassman. As a freshman, Patton averaged 6.8 points-per-game and led the Huskies with 35 three-pointers.

"Michael Patton is a player that all the guys respect, his work ethic and the fact that he gets yelled at as much, if not more than anyone," Patton said. "He's brought a great deal of respect from his teammates from what he's done both on and off the court."

Northern Illinois opens its exhibition campaign on Sunday, November 2nd, as the Huskies welcome Freed Hardeman to the NIU Convocation Center for a 2 p.m. tip-off. Men's Basketball season tickets for 12 home games are on sale now for $119 for the general public and $109 for senior citizens. A season ticket package for both the men's and women's basketball teams is available for $135 at www.niuhuskies.com or by calling the Athletics Ticket Office at 815-752-6800.


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