Editor’s Note: Cover image provided by cruathletics.com.
The season opener is finally here for the UMHB men’s basketball team. This upcoming week, they will travel across the state of Texas from San Marcos to Abilene. Hear from head coach Clif Carroll, read up on our projected starting five, as well as notes and news about both the Cru and their opponents in this week’s men’s basketball “coach’s clipboard”. It will be a weekly article previewing the week ahead for UMHB. Also, be sure to follow us on Twitter for live game updates and more.
Thoughts from head coach Clif Carroll:
On the nature of the season: “We have to stay ready to pivot, and we have to stay safe. We need all of our guys, when we’re not at practice, or going to class to stay away from everybody [to keep the team safe]. We got a lot of work to be done. There’s a lot of things outside our control that could affect us also. So we just control what we can control and focus on our process. If we do show up to a game and its good to go then we try to win it. And if something happens, and we have to cancel or move a game, then we have to go with the flow and stay committed to a process and get better everyday.”
On playing on ESPN+ and in Texas State’s 10,000 seat arena: “Even though there’s going to be 10,000 seats, they’re only letting 2,000 people in there. I don’t think we’re going to get too overwhelmed about nice arenas, because we have a nice arena, even though we don’t have as many seats. But still, our arena is just as nice as any division one we could play. So I don’t feel like the atmosphere is going to be overwhelming for us, I think what’s going to be more overwhelming is playing on ESPN. I try to keep that from the guys but you can’t. In the back of their minds, they may be thinking, ‘I’m on TV, does my hair look ok?’ You can’t have that. You have to be 100% focused on playing basketball. That’s more likely to affect us playing in a division one atmosphere, and then obviously playing against better players.”
- Senior guard Byrale Carter, who missed all but four games of last season, remains on the roster but will unavailable for the near future, according to Carroll.
- Carroll noted that these first three games are more likely to be a learning process for his squad than anything else. With a shortened preseason practice schedule, Carroll is still trying to find his consistent starting five and make sure the team is in sync when it comes to the new system and style of play.
Projected Starting Five
PG- Darius Musa, Senior: 22 games played, 2.4 PPG, 1.4 RPG, 0.6 APG (last season)
G- Carson Hammond, Junior: 21 games played, 3.3 PPG, 1.5 RPG, 0.9 APG (played last season at West Texas College)
F- Ty Prince, Junior: 21 games played, 17.5 PPG, 7.5 RPG, 2.8 APG (played last season at Centenary (La.)
F-Sam Reaves, Sophomore: Did not play last season (injury)
F- Aedan Welch, Senior: 25 games played, 4.1 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 1.1 APG (last season)
About the opponent: Texas State
Date: November 25
Time: 6:00 pm CT
Place: San Marcos, Texas (Strahan Arena at UEC)
TV/Radio: ESPN+ (TV), http://TxStateBobcats.com/Listen (Radio)
- This matchup with UMHB will be both teams’ first game of the season. For the Cru it will be an exhibition, for the Bobcats it will be an actual game that will count against their record.
- Texas State is led by 6’8 forward Isiah Small, a New Jersey native who started all 31 games for the Bobcats last season. In his senior year, Small is at his peak, and will be an imposing force in the paint. Last season, he averaged 6.5 rebounds per game, the ninth-best in the Sun Belt Conference.
- The Bobcats enter the season with question marks on the coaching staff. Danny Kaspar stepped down in August due to an investigation regarding racially insensitive comments he made towards players. Former assistant Terrence Johnson is currently serving as the interim head coach.
- Strahan Arena will be the largest venue the Cru will play in this season, at 10,000 seats. The arena, built in 1982, is the home of Texas State men’s and women’s basketball, as well as volleyball.
About the opponent: Hardin-Simmons
Date: November 27
Time: 6:00 pm CT
Place: Abilene, Texas
- This will be the 46th meeting between the Cowboys and Crusaders, with the first game between the two having been played on January 30, 2010. UMHB leads the series 33-13, with the last game between the two having been won by HSU 106-103 in overtime last February. A total of 2099 points have been scored in the series since the 2009-2010 season.
- UMHB’s Isaiah Stevenson and HSU’s Mike Aranda were once teammates at Killeen Ellison High School, so their will be a bit of a connection between these two opponents.
- This will be the first of three meetings between these two squads, as this non-conference duel will proceed two matchups in conference action. The Cowboys will host a game on January 21, before heading to Belton nine days later for a contest on January 30.
About the opponent: McMurry
Date: November 28
Time: 3:00pm CT
Place: Abilene, Texas
- McMurry is always a tough opponent for the Cru; UMHB lost in Abilene last season 111-109 in overtime, but did win the first meeting between the two 12 days before in Belton. All-time, UMHB leads the series 12-7.
- Colin Taylor, a San Antonio, Texas native, will be one of the War Hawks’ go to players on the perimeter. The senior guard averaged 8.5 points per game in 16 starts last season. In addition, senior guard Khalil Butler was named to the ASC Watch List last week. He is seeking a starting role this season after averaging 9.4 points and 6.4 rebounds off the bench.
- McMurry was slotted to finish fifth in the west division in the ASC Preseason Poll. UMHB was picked to place first. The War Hawks and Crusaders will meet oncemore, in back-to-back contests. UMHB will make the trip to Abilene on January 23, and then host the War Hawks five days later on January 28.