Basketball hopes to hoop in big season
Although the end of the semester is fast approaching, the men’s basketball season is just about to begin. The Cru plays their first game Nov. 18th at 7 p.m. against the Trinity Tigers in the indoor sports arena of Mayborn Campus Center.
This year, the team is relatively young due to the loss of 10 seniors. There are a lot of fresh faces, but they’re up to the challenge.
Head coach Ken DeWeese said, “With so many new guys on this year’s team, we honestly do not know what to expect. We will have to suffer through 6 to 8 games before we really know what we have.”
According to the annual Preseason Coaches and Media Poll, the men are expected to win the American Southwest Conference West Division championship.
Newly appointed assistant coach Jimmy Smith said, “We were quite shocked by that selection seeing that we lost 10 seniors from last year’s team,” he said. “But I think that it is a tremendous compliment to the success that this program has had, and shows the respect that the other teams in the division have for us.”
This will be Smith’s first season as the assistant coach, but it’s not the first time he has worn the purple, white and gold. Smith played for the university and was a four year letter winner through the 2000-2004 seasons.
DeWeese said, “He is familiar with the system and of course, as a four year former player, we are familiar with him. He is a great addition to our program.”
Smith takes former assistant coach Kenny DeWeese’s position, after he received an assistant role with Utah Valley University.
Smith said, “I am ecstatic to be back working at UMHB. I really enjoyed my time here as a student, but being back as an employee has given me a greater appreciation for how great of a university Mary Hardin-Baylor truly is.”
As for the team, they have been working hard to prepare for the season. They practice five to six days a week from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., where they do anything from conditioning and weight training, to scrimmaging against each other.
Sophomore forward Greg Wiernas said, “We have a completely different team
from last year, and it will for sure be a change. However we are getting better every day, and are looking forward to being one of the top contenders in the conference.”
Last year, the men had an overall record of 19-8, and they were 16-5 in conference. Some would say it was a successful season, however De- Weese would argue otherwise. “No one is happy at the end of the season except the team that wins the National Championship,” he said
Wiernas was also left feeling unsatisfied with last year’s result.
“We had a very good team, but it just took us a while to start playing together,” he said. “I wish we could go back and play those first games because I know we could win.”
Fortunately, the season is only weeks away, and the team will have their chance to start the year off with a win. Smith said, “Our first game is against Trinity. It will be a good test for us and I hope everyone can make it out.”