The men’s basketball team started practice last week in preparation for the upcoming season. With the move to Div. I and a roster filled mostly with transfer students, the team already has a lot to work on.
“So far, everything has been going great and the guys are working hard,” assistant coach Brette Tanner said. “Everyone is trying to learn, and with the jump to Div. I, that’s something that has to happen. We have to get everyone on the same page and get everyone to buy into our way of playing.”
The team’s main focus has been trying to get almost an entirely new roster to play as one. With only two Wildcats returning from last year, the challenge is to establish team chemistry and establish an ACU basketball style of play.
“It’s a process; everyone is coming in from different places and our job is to try to get all of them to buy into our style,” Tanner said. “We’re starting to see them mesh and everyone getting comfortable with each other. It’s gone faster and easier than I thought, which has been awesome. We have a lot of tough teams to prepare for, so we don’t have a lot of time to establish chemistry.”
The coach’s staff has already made it clear that the emphasis for this year will be put on the defense.
“We’ve spent, already, a good amount of time on the defensive side of the ball,” Tanner said. “Our goal is going to be to walk out of every gym we play in with our heads held high and people saying ‘wow, those guys really know how to play defense.’ Our defense will hopefully lead to our offense, but we’re going to look to shut teams down.”
The Wildcats will look to improve after last year’s 12-14 season filled with several close game losses that ACU could not overcome.
“We want to be a tough team that grinds our opponents and be able to play our way,” junior guard Julian Edmonson said. “If we continue to practice the way we have and stay focused, we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
ACU tips off their season with a trip to Pittsburgh, Pa. for a game against Duquesne University on Nov. 9.