The men’s American Southwest Conference tournament will return once again to UMHB Mayborn arena this season. The Crusaders have now hosted the tournament twice out of the last three years.
Head Coach Ken Deweese and the team have had to overcome several obstacles from the start of the season. The biggest problem they had to beat was the fact that they were realistically starting new. In the 2008-09 season, the Cru lost 10 starters.
“We should have and could have had a rocky start, but I think these guys started off great considering the circumstances,” Deweese said.
He gives the players praise for their intensity and drive to turn this season into a great one.
“We had very little experience back, a lot of new guys that did not know each other. I have a great deal of respect for this year’s team members, their work ethic, their competitiveness and their willingness to help each other. It has been hard work for them, but they have never complained.”
The fact that the players have truly come together and are playing well on the court is the basis of why they are at the top of their playing ability and why they are hosting the ASC tournament.
One of the few returning members of the team is senior finance major Rich Moore who plays guard and forward. He thinks the men’s Crusader basketball team is where they are due to giving it 100 percent at all times.
“No matter what is happening or how bad we are playing, everyone seems to be giving a solid effort, and that is always a great sign,” he said.
There shouldn’t be any speculation as to why the Cru would host the ASC tournament. They won their first six out of eight games, and their overall record is 17-6 while their conference record is 15-4. Also in almost every game, the Cru have outscored their opponents by half time and maintained the lead in the second period.
The team has had a total of 1,833 points, averaging 80 points per game.
One of the leading scorers for the Crusaders is junior marketing major Dean Pele. He is new to the team this season and has been fitting in well. Even
when he hasn’t been playing well, he has the team to lift his spirits.
“I started off really well and then hit a slump, but luckily my teammates picked me up, and I feel like I’ve been playing much better in terms of helping the team now than I was at the beginning of the season,” he said.
Pele along with the rest of the team and Deweese loves the fact that the Cru will be hosting the tournament. To them, it signifies an accomplishment of the main goal they set at the beginning of this season.
“We knew that to give ourselves the best chance to win the tourney we would have to host, and knowing we accomplished our goal is a good feeling,” he said.
In order to beat power house and defending champs The University of Texas at Dallas Comets, the Cru needs to stay focused and not panic when they are
“Some things I think that we have to learn is composure and patience,” Pele said. “I think sometimes when a team goes on a run, we get really frantic trying to make up all the points at once instead of being patient and taking control of the game.”
To close out the regular season, the Cru traveled to Brownwood, where they won against Howard-Payne University. The score was 77-64.
The ASC tournament will be played in Mayborn Campus Center Feb 26-28.