Men’s basketball prepares for competitive season, hopes to build off last year’s success

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Men’s basketball prepares for competitive season, hopes to build off last year’s success

Dorian Lopez led the team in rebounds last season.

Dorian Lopez led the team in rebounds last season.

Courtesy of SEU Athletics Communication

Dorian Lopez led the team in rebounds last season.

Courtesy of SEU Athletics Communication

Courtesy of SEU Athletics Communication

Dorian Lopez led the team in rebounds last season.

Odett Ochoa, Sports Writer

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Coming off an 18-12 overall record last season, the St. Edward’s men’s basketball team hopes to improve their defensive presence, while also keeping the offensive identity that led the Heartland Conference in scoring last season.

With his 10th season with the team just right around the corner, head coach, Andre Cook, recounts on the culture which he hopes encompasses the new team.

“I think we have developed a really strong culture. Our seniors know how we want to go about things,” Cook said. “They’re always together and doing thing outside of basketball, and that’s what we want, we want for them to make lifelong friends.”

With an already established core of scorers to build around, such as Dorian Lopez, Corey Shervill and Sean Philips, there was a need for an experienced floor general: a position which seems to be in the capable hands of captain and junior point guard, August Haas.

Cook has also acquired three freshmen and two Division I transfers to the program. Though being a transfer student might be difficult, junior guard Ashton Spears said the transition seems to have been rather steady. As practices and workouts gradually increase, Spears is enthusiastic about the team’s cohesiveness.

“Coach Cook has tried to make me feel comfortable and I owe a lot of it to him,” Spears said. “As a team we do a lot of things off the court as a team and it’s really important for our chemistry. They are all a bunch of great guys so it’s always good.”

Having a large portion of the team come back, cohesiveness has proven to be a prevailing strength. Junior forward Dorian Lopez describes the group as a tenacious one that has a clear focus on winning.

“We are getting where we need to be but it’s important that we keep the same foundation and intensity we had last year. Every day we have to play hard, do what we have to do and take care of business,” Lopez said.

Lopez describes the team as “strong-minded men” with the urgency to improve and reach their goal: contend in both the Heartland Conference and National level.

The future of the team is expected to be a favorable one, as a result of the skill and leadership development within the team.

Players such as Lopez and senior forward Corey Mckendree, play crucial roles in keeping a high level of energy. In the midst of the what seems to be a successful offseason, Cook credits his newly hired assistant coach, Trey Lindsay, for his already felt impact.

“Smart and mature, Trey is my guy,” Cook said. “We need to be better defensively, and he brings great concepts. He has a great passion the allows players to buy into the system.”

A week away from the start of the 2018-19 season, the SEU men’s basketball team is ready to put their skills to the test, as they begin preseason play on the road on Wednesday, Nov. 7 against UTSA.