The men’s basketball team’s season is drawing to a close as the team sits at a 3-21 record.
The team currently has a 3-14 record in the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference.
“Obviously all of us want a better record than what we have this year,” freshman Blake Oakley said. “The main thing that is positive for us is that we love being around each other and love playing basketball.”
This year’s team was relatively young. Only two students will be lost to graduation for next season. The team also has six freshmen on the roster. Oakley IS one of them.
“I have learned that college basketball is a lot different than high school basketball,” Oakley said. “It is a lot faster, people are stronger and everyone on the court can score and defend well.”
Senior Matt Niehoff said that this season, has been a valuable lesson for the team on how to deal with tough situations in life.
“We have had a lot of hard times this season but it has taught us what hard work and perseverance can do,” Niehoff said. “Even though from an outsiders’ perspective our season looks like a failure, there are definitely things to be proud of that we have accomplished.”
As a senior, Niehoff had goals he wanted to accomplish as well as goals the team had set. Despite not reaching the team goals, he believed that he reached some of his personal goals during the season.
“Personally I wanted to improve my consistency on the court from last year. I feel as if I accomplished that,” Niehoff said. “I also wanted to leave an impact on our younger guys through my leadership and work ethic, which I feel like I accomplished, too.”
According to Oakley, the team’s goal every season is to win conference and that will not change for next season. Oakley also has set some personal goals for next season.
“Personally I hope to move to the starting point guard role and be a good leader on and off the court,” Oakley said.
Next season the team will lose their starting point guard, senior Trae Washington. Washington had a big role for the team after earning HCAC honorable mention last season.
“This season we have seen how good we can be when we played Hanover the second time and beat them at home,” Oakley said. “We always have different times in practice where we click and play very well. We know that we can play like that and compete against anybody.”
Despite a bad season, Niehoff said the team can turn things around next season.
“I believe the team has a great core of guys that will accomplish their goals,” Niehoff said. “The biggest thing they need to improve on is consistently competing for every aspect of the game and bringing the preparation to game day every time.”
Oakley said the team needs to work hard this off-season on individual skills and playing together as a team.
The Grizzlies will play in their final game of the season tomorrow at Anderson. Anderson currently has a 9-7 conference record. In their first meeting of the season, Anderson won a close game 97-94.