After losing seven seniors and with the 2014-2015 season right around the corner, SF State’s men’s basketball team is focusing on team chemistry and the importance of defense to lead them to a winning season.
“We have a whole new group and it’s going to be very interesting to see how the roles play out (and) how they come together and form a unit,” said men’s basketball head coach Paul Trevor. “They have done a great job so far and we’ve had great leadership from our only two returning seniors.”
The Gators are coming back from a 14-12 season, where the team ranked eighth out of 12 teams in the west region, with top returning players Bren Haley and Udun Osakue leading the way.
“I think all the players will make a change, but the biggest impact guys (are) the new players Jon McMurry from Ventura College, and Floyd Wormley from Yuba College,” Trevor said. “They have the ability to score, and they played two years of basketball at the junior college level. They have an understanding of what it takes to win and hopefully that can carry over well here.”
Last season the Gators’ defense and offense ranked 10th out of 12 teams. The team had an average of 35 rebounds, 7.3 steals and 1.9 blocks per game.
“We need to focus more on rebounding, playing together as a team and being consistent with defense,” Haley said. “We have to be ready to work hard everyday and change our mindset in tough situations. Working as a unit instead of individuals is very important.”
During the off-season, the Gators’ practices are built around a strength program where the players improve and work on key skills such as rebounding and later work in small groups to focus on defense and offense.
“We try to go through every possible scenario. The majority of the emphasis is defense, but coach Trev talks about the competitive intensity in all the areas,” McMurry said. “We need to focus a lot on defense, that’s something coach Trev literally kills us about. We have guys that can score, so if we can keep the other teams from scoring, we can win.”
The conference saw a lot of improvement from top conference teams like Cal Poly Pomona, San Bernardino and Chico State. Trevor said the Gators will have tough matches up against these teams, but the rigorous practice regimen should help them fare well going forward.
“I think we need to be better in situations and being able to maintain our defensive intensity throughout the 40-minute games, instead of having spurts,” Trevor said. “I’d like to see this team to continue to get better throughout the season, learn to play through adversity, represent the University really well and hopefully win a CCAA title.”
The team’s first tip off will be in College Park, Maryland Nov. 1 for an exhibition match against the University of Maryland Terrapins.