Sport Spotlight: Thomas Orr
Feb25

Sport Spotlight: Thomas Orr

THE BELLS — Thomas Orr is a senior sport management major from Hutto, Texas, where he attended Hutto High School. Before joining the Cru, Orr attended Panola College in Texas and State Fair Community College in Missouri. He played two seasons for the Cru and helped lead his team to the 2013 NCAA Division III National Championship Game last season. He now serves as the student assistant basketball coach. Orr chose UMHB “for multiple reasons—basketball, the winning tradition is excellent here, it is also close to home so my parents can watch me play, and I just like the feel of the community walking around campus and the surrounding support that they have,” he said. He talks about the change of roles. “The transition was kind of hard, especially losing in the National Championship game. I kind of feel like I still have a little bit left to prove, but my time is up. It’s hard to say. Playing to now coaching… you are right there in a game. It’s like you’re injured and just waiting to get back on the court. But I have enjoyed the transition, and it feels good,” Orr said. Throughout his basketball career, he has collected many favorite memories. “My first one would be my senior year of high school when I scored a career high 41 points in a playoff game. My second one would be in the conference tournament against Hardin-Simmons where I scored 38 points, my career high at the college level. And then the national championship dunk of course,” he said. After college, Thomas hasn’t made a final decision on what he wants to do. But basketball will surely be involved. He said, “My dream job is to become a head basketball coach somewhere. I don’t know where. People always say they want to go to Duke or something like that, but I could go coach anywhere. As long as I am the head coach, I will be...

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Men’s basketball set for run at ASC championship title
Feb25

Men’s basketball set for run at ASC championship title

THE BELLS — The men’s basketball team has continued its winning ways, stringing together eight consecutive wins and most recently beating the University of Texas in Dallas Feb. 22. Jerard Graham led the Cru with 19 points along with 12 rebounds. Senior forward Kitrick Bell wasn’t far behind, finishing with 15 points and 14 rebounds. The last two games of the season were highly important for the Crusaders. They dropped a few conference games early but finished strong in order to put them in good position for the conference tournament. “The two last games are important because it decides on what seed we will be going into the tournament,” head coach Ken DeWeese said. “If we win these last two games, numerically speaking, it looks to be a little bit of an easier road, but if we get in that situation, I will be the first to tell you it isn’t any easier.” The Crusaders dropped the first meetings against Hardin-Simmons and UTD, but when those two teams traveled to Belton to face UMHB again, they met a different Crusader team. “We lost the two on the road at HSU and at UTD. I didn’t think we played poorly at Hardin-Simmons but they had one guy that made six threes. They beat us by four, and he was the difference,” DeWeese said. Sophomore center Russell Green agrees they weren’t playing to their full potential at that time in the season but have turned it around and will be a force in the conference tournament. “I think we are doing the little things better. We are also playing a whole lot better defense, and we have more confidence as a team.” The men will be heading into the conference tournament as the number three seed. Their winning streak can be attributed to their escalated play on the defensive end of the court. “Our defense has really stepped up in these last nine games,” Green said. “We continue to get stops on defense, which leads to good shots on the other end. I think that has been a big contributor here late in the season.” The Crusaders will travel to  the University of Texas Dallas for the conference tournament this weekend.  Even though the men defeated the Comets in the last game of the regular season, UTD still holds the number one seed in the conference followed by Hardin-Simmons. For a shot at the national tournament, the Crusaders need to play well in the ASC tournament. A conference tournament championship would guarantee them an automatic bid. “We just have to go take care of business in the tournament. We control our...

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Sport Spotlight: Taylor and Tori Tucker
Feb11

Sport Spotlight: Taylor and Tori Tucker

Taylor and Tori Tucker are sisters and compete together on the Lady Crusader basketball team. Taylor is a junior and Tori is a sophomore, and both are exercise sport science majors. They went to many different schools growing up across Texas, attending Bryan Rudder and Oakwood, but graduated from A&M Consolidated High School in College Station. This season, the Lady Cru are 14-7 overall and 14-4 in conference play and currently are tied for second place with the University of Texas-Dallas in the American Southwest Conference. The Tuckers picked UMHB because of the opportunity to keep playing basketball with each other. “We chose to play together and also like the atmosphere and how family orientated everyone is,” Tori said. Outside of all the time spent on basketball, both sisters agreed that they enjoy sleeping, hanging out with teammates and play videogames. “I love playing, I love the atmosphere, and I love the audience. I also love playing with my teammates and just basketball pretty much takes away any problems you might have at the time, it’s a whole new thing when you step on the floor,” Taylor said. The sisters’ favorite memory was last season on the road against Concordia University. “We went into double overtime, so we had a lot of time on the court to play together, and we all fought really hard to win that game,” Tori said. In the game, Taylor and Tori combined for 38 total points and memories that will last forever. The sisters spend a lot of time with each other off the court as they also live together. “It can be challenging at times, but she’s not only my sister and my roommate, she is my best friend, so it makes things a lot easier,” Taylor said. After college, both have set their plans on what they hope to do. “I want to play overseas, and then after that I want to be a strength and conditioning coach and work with kids and train them,” Taylor said. Tori wants to stay near the Belton area. “I plan on attending PT school and be a PTA or physical therapist around the area,” she said. Though Taylor has only one more year left of basketball, the Tucker sisters want to enjoy it all while it lasts. “Taylor has one more year, and I’m just trying to get back out there ASAP with her. God has blessed us both with talent, and to be able to use it together on the same court is amazing,” Tori said. “Taylor pushes me to be a better player myself. I don’t compare myself to her, but we...

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Sport Spotlight: James Allen
Jan29

Sport Spotlight: James Allen

THE BELLS — James Allen is a senior business management major from The Woodlands, Texas, where he attended College Park High School. Allen has played a crucial role for the Cru in the past four seasons. Since his arrival, he has started in games every year and increased his numbers significantly. His freshman year, he averaged 8.5 points and 2.4 rebounds per game. His sophomore year, he totaled 8.8 points and 3.1 rebounds per game. His junior year he averaged 13.1 points per game. This season, he is averaging 19.3 points per game. Allen also holds the record for most steals at UMHB with many more games to be played. Once Allen learned about UMHB, he stuck with his plan of hooping. “I chose UMHB because I got recruited by one of the former players here,” he said. Besides attending classes and playing ball, Allen enjoys being with his friends. “Outside of basketball, I like to hang out with my friends and play video games. Me and my roommates like to play Super Smash Brothers on the Wii,” he said. Allen also was a member of the 2012-13 Crusader basketball team that advanced to the NCAA Division III Men’s  College Basketball National Championship game, where the Cru fell to Amherst College 87-70. Though there are many more memories to come, Allen talks about his most memorable. “My favorite memory was going to the national championship my junior year. It was something we never accomplished before. It was a fun experience for us,” he said. He talked about his favorite aspect of basketball. “Just getting to play the sport and getting to play with new faces.” What most don’t know about Allen is his dominant hand. “I am left-handed, and most people do not know that,” he said. After college, Allen has set his ambitions on what he plans to do. He said, “No dream job for me. (I) just want to raise a family and take care of that...

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Sport Spotlight: Alison Bullock
Nov20

Sport Spotlight: Alison Bullock

Alison Bullock is a senior exercise sport science major from Rockwall, Texas, and  attended Heath High School. Bullock has been a key player for the Cru all four years and served as a team captain. Her freshman year, she earned Honorable Mention All-ASC. Her junior year, she received Third Team All-ASC Honors. This season, Bullock earned First Team All-ASC Honors and was also named to the All-ASC Tournament team. Bullock helped the Cru this year to a school record of 14 wins. The Cru fell in the ASC Championship Tournament semifinals 1-0 to UT-Dallas. Once Bullock learned about UMHB, she stuck with her plan of becoming a Crusader. “I looked into the school, and I came here, and I thought it was a really nice campus. I liked a lot of the girls that played on the (soccer) team, and it just drew me in,” she said. Bullock has enjoyed the relationships she has made playing soccer. “I really just like the friendships you make … Especially here, UMHB, it was like a huge family,” she said. Her favorite soccer experience happened this fall. “The conference tournament this year was my favorite memory. We hadn’t made it until this year and it was just a great way to end my senior year,” she said. Bullock’s sister, Taylor is also a part of the team. Taylor played for the the Cru and now serves as an assistant coach. Both sisters have enjoyed success with the Cru program. Alison said, “It’s nice to have her there all the time. She’s always been involved with soccer just as much as I have. It was fun being able to spend that time with...

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Sport Spotlight: Bianca Patterson
Nov05

Sport Spotlight: Bianca Patterson

Volleyball player Bianca Patterson is a junior math major from Killeen, Texas, and attended Harker Heights High School. Before transferring to UMHB, Patterson attended Navarro College. Patterson has added an extra threat to the Crusaders and has tallied  266 kills this season. Off  the volleyball court, Patterson enjoys being with her friends. “I like to hang out with my teammates, and I like to read,” she said. Her favorite book is My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult. Patterson and her teammates all have pregame rituals. “I usually listen to “Man in the Mirror” by Michael Jackson before every game, and lately, our team has been doing crazy dances,” she said. Besides sports, Patterson also has a passion for music. “I play the piano, and I sing at my church,” she said. After college, Patterson plans to go into coaching. “My dream job is to be a high school volleyball coach. After college, I plan to maybe assist with my old high school volleyball coach,” she said. Patterson attributes her playing style and competitive spirit to her mom’s advice growing up. “When I was in fourth grade, my mom wanted to toughen me up. So she initially tried to sign me up for soccer, but the only sport in season was volleyball. So I started playing, and I’ve been playing ever since.” Patterson and her teammates have already posted the highest season win total of 28 wins in Division III Cru volleyball history. They will be working to add more victories to their record when they travel to the University of Texas at Dallas where they will participate in the ASC Volleyball Championship Tournament Nov....

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