By Caitlin Dyck
Smaller, quicker, more athletic, and fun, these are the words that Matt O’Brien, head men’s basketball coach, used to describe the men’s basketball team at this season’s preseason press conference. “We won’t have a size advantage over the other teams, but we hope to be faster paced. We have lost some of our height with graduating David King and Travis Thurau, but we are a lot quicker and will be much more fun to watch with our athleticism this season,” said O’Brien.
The Builders lost four starters, but with that loss comes much gain. O’Brien said, “We have six returners, four transfers and eight freshmen. We are a little smaller this year, but I have been surprised with some of the great work ethic and just as some of the other coaches have mentioned, this conference will be tough this year, but we are up for the challenge.”
With returners, transfers and the incoming freshman, O’Brien has high hopes for his program this year. “Our transfers have already had an immediate impact on the team. I see a lot of unselfish play during practice within the team. They are working really hard and building great team chemistry,” said O’Brien.
The Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference teams were ranked by the media and the coaches for the preseason poll. Southwestern received fifth in the media poll and eighth in the coach’s poll, but O’Brien holds no hesitations in his confidence for his team and the season. “I was a hoping we would be picked a little higher by the coaches, but the polls don’t really hold much weight when it comes to actually playing the game.”
The men’s basketball team kicks off their preseason non-conference play at 2 p.m. on Oct. 29 against Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Missouri.
Caitlin Dyck is a senior majoring in general communication. You may e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.