Today: Jun 17, 2024

Burrell conveys high expectations for his team

Luke Gadson – Sports Editor

Basketball season is right around the corner at the university, and competitiveness has been brewing all preseason for the men’s basketball program.  

During the 2022-23 season, the Owls had a winning record, finishing with an overall record of 18-12 and a conference record of 11- 9. The Owls would go on to lose to the University of New Haven in the quarterfinals of the NE10 conference tournament. The Owls have much greater things on their mind this season. 

“I think the guys are jelling together, and their chemistry is coming together. We have a lot of new additions, but we have our core nucleus back,” said Head Coach Scott Burrell. “We brought in two transfers and four freshmen. Our transfers are older guys that are going to help our team mentally and physically, and they’re really talented players that will give us a huge spark on the offensive end.” 

One main focus for the Owls this preseason has been improving in the areas that may been mitigated due to losing key players to graduation. “A big thing is team camaraderie; energy is always a focus in practice. We’re putting together pieces that we definitely needed and making up for pieces we lost from kids that graduated,” said guard Logan Bagshaw, a junior. 

Forward Kazell Stewart, a sophomore, said, “Preseason has been looking really sharp. We’re doing everything to sharpen our tools. From shooting to communicating on offense and defense, it has been good to play with my past teammates and get to know my new teammates.” 

In the preseason NE10 Men’s Basketball Rankings, the Owls clocked in at third place. This could add some motivation for the Owls as they begin their season. “Last year we were picked to finish second to last or last, but polls are polls,” said Burrell. “They don’t know what we have and we don’t know what other teams have. It’s good for them to see, but you have to go out there and play. Every day you have got to try to be the be player and person you can be and good things will happen.” 

Considering their ranking, Bagshaw said, “We were ranked third in the preseason, so it is definitely a big target on our back. We got to go out every game and give it everything.” 

Focus during practice is a primary component to having a successful season that is emphasized by the coaching staff and the players. “It’s going to take a lot of teamwork and communication. We have to push each other every day whether it’s in practice or in the games,” said Stewart. 

Burrell stressed how the team must learn from their mistakes and start this season on a positive note. “Last year, we lost the first two games and dug ourselves in a hole. We dug ourselves out, but if you start off on a good note, you grow from there because we go into our conference games right off the bat,” said Burrell. 

The Owls begin their season with a non-conference matchup against University of the District of Columbia on Friday Nov. 10. 

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