The Griffon menâ€™s basketball team is ready to kick off the new season at the beginning of November.
There are always high expectations for the menâ€™s basketball team at Missouri Western because of the past success the team has had over the years. The Missouri Western basketball team has been to the Division two national playoffs 10 times and has won the conference outright another 5 times.
The players that need to step up and take the leadership roles on the team are Keion Kindred a transfer from Long Beach State University in California, Kenny Oliver a junior college transfer from Penn Valley Community College and Brian Videau a junior college transfer from Yuba College also in California.
Head Coach Tom Smith believes these players can be the backbone of the team that is trying to get back into the playoffs for the first time in three years.
â€œThe first goal is to be at the top of the MIAA,â€ Smith said. â€œWe have to be at the top of the MIAA to have a chance to make it to the national tournament.â€
Smith plans to win games with many different players seeing time on the court during the season.
â€œThe team will rely on eight to 12 players every night to win games,â€ Smith said. â€œThere wonâ€™t just be one guy scoring 20 points a night, rather three or four players putting up 10 points a night.â€
More people will have to contribute to the team this year compared to last yearâ€™s team that was lead by seniors Demarius Bolds and Jason Warren who put up most of the points for the Griffons.
This could be a blessing in disguise for the Griffons, because ball movement within the offense will be key to the success of the Griffons season and will get everyone involved. It will give everyone a chance to make plays.
This yearâ€™s team will rely on transfers from all over the United States. Smith collected players from California, Wisconsin, Texas, Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Illinois, Maryland and of course Missouri.
This can be good as long as the talent and personalities that Smith has collected gels well with one another. This has to be done in the short period of time they spend on the basketball court everyday in preparation for the season.
Smith gathered all of these players from different places through the contacts he has been able to gain through his 19 year tenure at Missouri Western. If he hears about a player that will fit well on his team and in his system from his contacts he jumps at the opportunity to add the new talent.
â€œThe players that we bring here are not just good at basketball.â€ Smith said. â€œThey are also successful academically.â€
Smith brings in character guys that make it easy for players that have not played together gel as a team.
The Griffons play their first game against Missouri-Rolla in the Hillyard Tip-off Classic at the MWSU Fieldhouse. Tip-off is at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 17.