The men's basketball team set on proving GSC rankings wrong
The Lee University Men’s Basketball team has something to prove this year, after being ranked 10th in the Gulf South Conference (GSC) for the upcoming season.
In just his second season as the men’s head basketball coach, Ryan “Bubba” Smith is reinforcing what his team’s values are and what the culture is for the program.
“I’m just trying to get our guys to be the best they can be every day. Whether it’s on the court, classroom or even the weight room, the goal is to be our best every day,” Smith said.
Prince Regular, the team's manager, said with the addition of the new coach, Lee’s program is making a turnaround.
“The first year is behind us, and now we have a chip on our shoulder to prove the rankings are wrong,” Regular said.
Despite being ranked 10th out of the 14 teams in the GSC, the Flames take that as a challenge and hope to surprise some people.
“We have to go out and prove we’re better than 10th place—if we do that this year, we’ll gain more respect from the coaches in our league,” Smith said.
Seven men have been added to the roster: four freshmen, two transfers and one senior coming off a redshirt year.
Although this year’s team is relatively young, The Flames are led by three seniors: Chase Cullen, Bryce Copeland and Levi Woods.
“They have experience in what the GSC is about, as well as knowing how tough and competitive it can be,” Smith said. “They’re doing a great job in leading the team and what I have asked them.”
Senior and former redshirt Chase Cullen is 100% healed and ready to compete his last year on the court. Cullen was redshirted for a partially torn labrum and a damaged AC joint.
Cullen explained that replacing key players like Keevin Tyus will be tough, and younger players are now being asked to step up.
“Keevin is a special player, a player that comes around every 10 years. It’ll definitely be a tough role to fill,” Cullen said.
Cullen expects younger players such as Parker Suedekum, Cody Jones and Ryan Montgomery to contribute to the team heavily since they saw the most minutes last season.
According to freshman forward Jason Landman, this year’s team will be a talented group to watch.
“This team is full of talented men who compete in every drill, which makes everyone work harder,” Landman said.
The Flames are looking to get scores from multiple people, move the ball around more and not rely on any one player. They have been working on the defensive end as well as being in the right spot at the right time.
The men open up their season in an exhibition game Nov. 4 against Covenant College.