The basketball team opened its season with a win against Trinity University Nov. 18 at home in a non-conference match.
“It was good,” senior guard Zane Johnston said. “We got an early win. A lot of the new guys played really well, and our defense made a big lead in the beginning.”
Though the team brought back nine players, they have only 46 career starts combined, which means fans will see many changes from last season’s play.
“This year’s team has 12 new faces. There are no similarities,” Head Coach Ken De-Weese said.
The Cru graduated 10 seniors last year, but will bring back four seniors, including guards Zane Johnston and Reshaud Jackson, and forwards Rich
Moore and Ervin Johnson.
“It’s a challenge,” Johnston said. But he and the rest of the team are hopeful.
“We have three seniors right now, and one more after football is over. We have a lot of transfers coming in with experience, and we’ve been playing as a team for several months now.”
The team’s record last season was 19-8 overall and 16-5 in American Southwest Conference play.
Players advanced to the semifinals of the ASC Championship Tournament before falling 65-60 to U.T.-Dallas.
However, this year the team was picked to win the ASC West Division in the league’s annual Preseason Coaches and Media Poll.
“People don’t know what we have because we have so many new people,” Jackson said. “We come from different places, but we play well together and have a good chance.”
He said the team’s expectations are high.
“We’re bigger than we’ve ever been and faster,” Jackson said. “I’m impressed. We’re way ahead of schedule from where we are normally at this time of year.”
The team’s goals include qualifying for the ASC tournament, winning ASC West Division, winning the ASC Post-Season Tournament and qualifying for NCAA Tournament.
DeWeese said the team will face challenges in pursuit of its victories as normal.
“Putting together a team that is competitive for post-season position, planning to win, keeping people healthy and happy on the team and keeping a team together … is challenging enough, and the obstacles and adversity are there every day,” he said.
They are looking forward to a good season.
Johnston said, “We’re excited where we’ll end up in conference.”
UMHB will face ASC Champion U.T.-Dallas Nov. 28 in Richardson.