Lee's men's basketball team makes debut at homecoming
As the crowds shuffle onto Lee University’s campus for Homecoming, the men’s basketball team dribble up and down the court, making last minute strides for the game they have been waiting all year for, the Homecoming game against Piedmont College.
With a new coach, new freshman and new strategies to learn, the Flames have had their hands full working to be better than they were last year. The team has been focusing on their weak point, defense, along with team bonding. They have put many hours into getting stronger and the time has finally come to step up to the line. The team expects an interesting game and a large Homecoming crowd to pump them up.
“We gon’ give the crowd what they came to see,” Senior Keevin Tyus said.
According to junior, Isaac Merian, Piedmont is a good team with a good senior class and is not at all intimidated by the Flames. However, the Flames’ offense is ready for them and expecting a win.
The Flames have adopted a new way of playing defense from their new head coach, Bubba Smith. Tyus said the new defensive strategy is what he and the team is used to, as opposed to what they worked on with former head coach, Tommy Brown, and believes it will help the team to move forward in the season.
“If we take pride in defense the whole year,” Tyus said, “If we do that we can definitely win this conference.”
Merian said he believes the team can get a conference championship this season. Getting last place in the conference bowl last year, has put a chip on the team’s shoulder to prove they can compete.
With that momentum, the team has been hitting the weight room hard, as well as the court. According to Merian, the team members have become substantially faster and stronger.
“Everything has just gotten better since last year,” Merian said.
Merian credits coach Smith for numerous beneficial changes in the team this season. Smith has encouraged tighter bonds to be made within the team. This will help the team when playing against schools with a negative, hateful atmosphere where the team will be name-called and harrassed by the crowd.
“You have to rally with your team, and you need your teammates to pick you up,” Merian said.
Smith has also employed a practice system that only operates on his standards. If the men do not appear ready to lift or train, they run until they are.
“It really helps to push us, to push ourselves and push each other to get stronger get, faster,” Merian said.
The team has a new atmosphere, a new coach and a new personality. They are confident in their skills, and the Homecoming game is going to be a good indicator of how the season is going to go.
“We been waiting all year long for this first game. Working hard for it. Putting in hours. I got full confidence in my guys,” Tyus said.