With a miserable 7-21 record in their rear view mirror, the Missouri Western men’s basketball team is ready for a fresh start in the 2017-2018 season.
While Western was crushed by Texas Tech last year in their exhibition game, they would hold their own this time against Arkansas University, a D-1 school. Even when losing 88-74, sophomore Beau Baker is optimistic on their overall team performance.
“I’m proud of my team,” Baker said. “To hold our own like that against Arkansas shows something. We’re definitely going to turn some heads.”
Senior Seth Bonifas also chimed in on making progressive moves this season.
“We’re excited to start this season and make some big steps,” Bonifas said. “Us six seniors, we believe we’ve worked hard as a team and are ready to show everyone what we got.”
Head coach Brett Weiberg was quick to remind everyone that their game against Arkansas does not count towards the season.
“While I’m proud of how we played even though we have to remember it’s just an exhibition game,” Weiberg said. “There’s a lot of subbing going on so everyone get’s a chance to play. That doesn’t take back the good things we did in that game, though.”
Weiberg looks forward to having an abundance of players return.
“We have a large portion of our scoring and rebounding back, which is a great thing,” Weiberg said. “We also have five news guys who will play, so there will be some familiar faces that are playing, but some news guys as well. I look forward to blending those guys together and growing more a team.”
With those familiar faces are six seniors. Those seniors are Cole Clearman, TJ Evans, Wes Mitter, Joe Hamilton, Mason Hughes and Seth Bonifas.
Weiberg is very excited for his seniors to lead this team.
“My six seniors are really good,” Weiberg said. “They’re good leaders, good kids and they have all improved.”
With last season being a disappointing one due to many injuries, Weiberg is ready for his team to be 100 percent.
“First of all, we’re healthy and so God willing we’ll stay healthy,” Weiberg said. “That should help these kids as much as anything. We recruited heavily, and our returning guys have greatly improved. You’ll see some things that are similar and some things that are a little different.”
Baker, who shot 41.4 percent from field last season, is very prideful about his team and their mindset for the upcoming season.
“Work hard everyday,” Baker said. “That may be cliche but it’s true. We put up a new motto, ‘no zero days.’ That means we don’t want any bad days at practice. As long as we do that, we have a chance to win every game when we step on the court this year.”
Baker added that the team has put last season in the past.
“We’re hungry this year, we don’t want to have the same season we last year,” Baker said. “We want our seniors to go out on a high note and for us under classmen to set the standard for the next few years.”
Western will look to officially bounce back starting this Friday, Nov. 10 as they start the Hillyard Tip-off Classic against Winona State University at 3:00 p.m.