Men’s Basketball Preview
Jaylen Carr – Sports Editor
Matt Cain – Contributor
The men’s basketball team is eager to start the new season and ready to bounce back from last season’s 7-18 record.
“I think we are really looking forward to rebound from last year,” guard and forward Ulyen Coleman, a senior, said. “Last year was a tough year.”
Leadership and chemistry will be essential for the Owls as the team looks to improve their record from last season. Center Zach Penn, a senior, provides rebounding ability and experience for the team.
“We have a lot of new guys that are falling right into position and ready to play,” Penn said.
Penn averaged 7.9 points per game and led the team grabbing 7.5 rebounds per game. He shot 50% from the field, among the best on the team. Penn, whose minutes have been increasing since his first year, is expected to play a handful of minutes
, as he averaged almost 25 minutes of playing time last season. Penn is eager to start the season with goals set for this season.
“My goal is to have a good record as a team,” Penn said.
The Owls are playing with a chip on their shoulder.
The Owls are ready to compete against the teams in the NE10 conference, said Penn. But the University of New Haven (UNH) is the biggest rival for the Owls this season.
“I think every team in the NE10 we are ready to face. Obviously, every year, our main opponent is UNH because it is a rivalry game, but I think we are ready every single night to play anyone,” Penn said.
The Owls are looking to win the playoffs and the NE10 Championship.
“I think the sky is the limit for us. I think we can be NE10 champs,” Coleman said.
Being the best player possible is an important goal for Coleman this year as he enters his fourth year on the team. Coleman says that he wants to accomplish some individual achievements too.
“Hopefully, I can win player of the year,” said Coleman. Also, making NE10 first team is an individual goal for Coleman.
Coleman was the second-leading scorer last season, averaging 12.1 points per game, and the second-most minutes last season.
Facing teams in the conference is always a good game but facing Pace University is going to be exciting, said Coleman.
“I want to play all the teams, but I really want to play Pace. One of our guards from last year transferred there, so it’s going to be fun,” Colemen said.
Head Coach Scott Burrell, whose been the head coach since 2015, has been motivating the players to before the season gets started.
“We just want to come out and play hard,” Burrell said. “We just want to be a competitive team.”
Burrell said he wants the team to impose their will on the defensive side and let the other team know that the Owls will be tough to win against.
Also, winning games will be crucial this season, Burrell said. He wants to improve and grow from last season.
“I love to win. I love seeing progress in the team and players individually, not just on the court, but seeing kids grow mentally and physically. That translates to winning,” Burrell said.
Coach Burrell does not like to lose, just like experienced players such as Coleman and Penn.
“This is a new year; last year had ups and downs; we’re coming different,” Coleman said.
Burrel knows what it is like to win a championship and how to win playoff games. Burrell, a former NBA player, was part of the 1998 Chicago Bulls that won the NBA championship against the Utah Jazz.
“This is a likable team, and this is a fun team to be around,” said Burrell. “Win the fans over with wins; that’s what makes a winner.”