After head coach Joe Golding announced the ACU Men’s basketball schedule in September, it was clear that one game stuck out more than the rest.
The Wildcats head to Norman, Oklahoma to play Oklahoma University, Nov. 25. A season ago OU made it to the Final Four in the NCAA Tournament, and was ranked No. 4 in the country at the start of the tournament.
“That game especially is going to be a challenge, but is something we’re looking forward to,” Golding said. “The schedule is a lot more fair this season than past seasons, so we’ll have to step it up.”
Jovan Crnic, a returning player and assumed starter on the wing for the Wildcats, says that they’re up to the challenge, and that they’ve been working out since the summer.
“We’ve been pretty much working out the whole summer,” Crnic said. “The whole basketball team was here for both summer courses, so six weeks, and we were working out basically the whole time.”
“We’re working out a lot more on the turf, a lot more conditioning rather than strength training,” Tripp said. “It increases our stamina so that we can work out more.”
Crnic and Golding are also quick to agree with the work of Bourque, and cite him as a huge resource for the team.
“You can clearly see the change that is going through these players,” Golding said. “There’s a clear difference. We’re getting stronger, we’re getting more muscular, and we’re clearly more athletic. We wouldn’t be able to be the way we are without Coach Bourque.”
Golding also says to expect more from this team in the final year of the transition to D-1, especially from returning Southland Conference Freshman of the Year Jaylen Franklin.
“He’s coming back, and he not only had an amazing season last year, but had one of the best summers of anyone on the team,” Golding said. “It’s also crazy because Jaren Lewis is a returning freshman, and probably would have won Freshman of the Year if Franklin had it. This team has a very bright future.”
A season ago the Wildcats finished 13-18 overall and 8-10 in conference and would have had a spot in the Southland Conference tournament had they been eligible. ACU opens up its season Friday, Nov. 11 against Schreiner University in Moody Coliseum.