By Matthew Barnes, Staff Writer
The Asbury men’s basketball season has officially begun, and the team is optimistic for what they can accomplish with the year.
According to head coach Will Shouse, one of the main strengths of the team is their size. “We are overall bigger. Hopefully that translates into being a better half court defensive team and being able to rebound better,” Shouse said.
The team travelled to West Point, Georgia, to face off against Point University in their first game of the season. It was a hard-fought game, but the Eagles fell short at the end with a 94-91 loss. One bright spot in the contest was the stellar play from junior Trenton Thompson, who scored 32 points.
“During the course of the game, our team stayed aggressive and never let up,” Thompson said. “We had a few plays where we might have lost focus for a second, but our effort was there. In the games to come we need to make sure our intensity stays high, and we also need to make sure we can guard without fouling.”
This is an experienced unit, comprised of five seniors and seven juniors who can provide leadership and guidance to the younger players as the season progresses.
“It’s very important for me to be a leader and a good role model for this team. I remember my first couple years really looking up to my upperclassmen for just about everything. Now I have to embrace that role to help guide our team in the right direction for this season on and off the court,” Thompson said.
The Eagles compete in the River States Conference and are part of the West division. One of their main competitors will be Indiana University Southeast, who are ranked #19 in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) rankings.
The Eagles made huge strides in their last season, going 16-14 overall and 9-9 in conference play. They started the season with a high volume, fast tempo style of play, and then tweaked the system as the season progressed. Coach Shouse plans for an even bigger team improvement this year.
“Our goals for this season are to win the River States Conference regular season and tournament, have a 3.0 team GPA and win 20 games,” Shouse said.
Their first conference game is on Nov. 28 against Indiana University Kokomo.