Led by lone senior, young men’s basketball team off to hot 7-2 start

With an 89-72 win over No. 20 Texas A&M-Kingsville on Dec. 2, St. Edward’s men’s basketball has jumped out to a 7-2 record to start the year.

SEU has managed to start the season strong on the heels of an explosive offense, averaging 95.1 points per game, with their wins coming by an average margin of 20.4 points.

Senior point guard Sean Watkins has helped head the offensive output thus far, providing invaluable experience as the only senior on the team.

“Although there are younger guys, our point guard is a veteran guy, so he knows our offense inside-out,” Head Coach Andre Cook said. “That’s how we feel we have to play. Offensive organization and get the ball up, we have guys that can shoot the basketball.”

Sophomore forward Dorian Lopez has learned how to maintain his poise from watching Watkins play.

“…No matter who’s in front of you, you’ve got to guard them. I mean the dude’s 5’9” and can go guard a guy who’s 6’3” 200 pounds and stay calm and still play his game,” Lopez said.

However, just as Watkins provides veteran experience, Lopez, who is playing his first year at SEU after transferring from Oklahoma Christian University, has elevated the team’s play just with his presence.

“He brings an edge that not a lot of teams have,” Watkins said. “When he’s on the court we’re going to get a lot of energy rebounding, offensively and defensively. [He] brings the attitude that’s real gritty, and that’s everything that we need to be successful.”

Expectations weren’t high for SEU heading into the season, and even though they dropped their conference opener to Newman 70-72 on Nov. 30, they’re looking to use the doubt to further fuel their hot start as they begin to head into the heat of Heartland Conference play.

“We got picked seventh and we think that’s disrespectful to us, so we’re challenging each other to look to make sure everybody knows that we’re not a seventh place team and that we’re better than that,” Watkins said.

While the team has been successful in scoring points on their opponents, there are always areas to improve on, as Coach Cook points out.

“One, we can’t turn the ball over like we have… The fact that we’re turning the ball over 16, 17 times has been disappointing,” Coach Cook said. “The other thing is we’ve got to get tougher on the boards… a little nastier on the defensive board.”

SEU faces St. Mary’s University on Dec. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in the Recreation and Convocation Center. As only the second conference game of the season, SEU will take the opportunity to not only try and improve upon their record, but make a case to everyone else in the Heartland Conference. Sean Watkins knows it more than anyone else.

“Tall challenges, and I’m looking forward to all of it.”