The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

The Student News Site of St. Edward's University

Hilltop Views

Men’s basketball looks toward upcoming season

Courtesy of Maria Gonzalez

The St. Edward’s men’s basketball team is coming off a 21-11 season, the first 20-win season in three years. They won the Lone Star Conference East Division and clinched the No. 2 seed in the LSC Tournament. The Hilltoppers were setting themselves up to make a postseason, until they lost three of the final four games in the regular season and were sent home by Lubbock Christian University in the first round of the LSC Tournament: a crashing end to what was a fantastic regular season left a sour taste in the Hilltoppers’ mouths. 

“It’s definitely in the back of our minds,” graduate student guard Bennett Mohn said. “The past two years I have been here, we have been one or two teams out of making the (NCAA) tournament.”

The Hilltoppers have their sights set on returning to the NCAA Regionals for the first time since 2020. The fate of that goal runs through team captains, Gavino Ramos and Blake Nielsen, and reigning LSC Freshman of the Year, Sean Elkinton. Ramos and Nielsen enter their third season in the system and second as starters. 

Head Coach Andre Cook’s signature motion offense – which has been the Hilltoppers’ identity for the past decade and a half – has evolved to maximize the unique skill sets that Nielsen’s versatility and Elkinton’s size and blossoming shooting touch bring to the table. Graduate students Jeff Gary and Mohn bring elite shooting to complement the offense. The question this coming season will be, who will take on the opponent’s number one offensive option, as well as get that bucket when the team needs it most with the departure of Uche Dibiamaka.

The Hilltoppers will look to blend experience with a mix of young talent and veterans. Cook and assistant coach Steve Ayala bring in four freshmen and three transfers. The freshman class includes Garret Smith from High School, Lipan, TX; Luke Price from Ronald Reagan High School, San Antonio, TX; Zeke Bullington from Second Baptist High School, Houston, TX; and João Fernandes from Utah Prep Academy, São Paulo, Brazil. 

The Hilltoppers welcome three transfers: Aleu Aleu, Jayden Johnston, and Jamison Kay. 

Aleu, a 6-foot-9-inch forward graduate of Austin High School, moved to Texas in 2012 from Kenya, where he was born and raised. He committed to Temple College out of high school and spent two seasons as a Leopard. Aleu spent the past two years down the road at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Aleu was a member of the 2021-2022 Conference USA Honor Roll. 

Johnston is a 6-foot-4-inch junior guard from Dublin, California, arriving on the Hilltop after spending two seasons at Citrus Community College. In two seasons for the Owls, he averaged 10.8 points per game and shot 38.3% from 3-point land. He’s a two-time All-Western State Conference Honorable Mention and Western Conference State Champion.

Kay is a 6-foot-7-inch forward from Yuma, Arizona. He spent one season at Pima Community College, averaging 8.4 ppg and 4.5 rebounds per game last season. Kay was a 1,000-point scorer at Gila Ridge High School in Arizona.

Their regular season opens in Vancouver, Canada. There, the Hilltoppers will participate in the CCA DII Canadian Tip-Off Classic. SEU will play Seattle Pacific University on Nov. 3, Western Washington University on Nov. 4, and Simon Fraser University on Nov. 5.

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Jack Connolly
Jack Connolly, Staff Writer
Jack is a junior from Omaha, Nebraska and this is his second year writing with "Hilltop Views" as a Staff Writer. He loves sports but will also write about music, social issues and politics.

Comments (0)

Hilltop Views has a zero tolerance policy for hate speech of any kind. Comments that express prejudice against a particular group — especially on the basis of race, religion or sexual orientation — will not be tolerated. Do not resort to violent or personal attacks, especially those that include foul language. You can disagree with a story, but libel and defamation will not be tolerated. Spam comments will not be published and may result in an immediate ban from making future comments on our site. Maintain privacy. Do not comment yours or anyone’s personal information. If a comment is determined to have violated the guidelines listed above, it will not be published. We encourage you to follow our guidelines and engage in productive conversations revolving around our stories. Please refer to our Media & Ethics Policy on our website for more information.
All Hilltop Views Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *