Running the Court: Men’s Basketball Starts Strong

Dylan Powell, Head Sports Writer

Photos provided by Breelyn Craig

The men’s basketball team here at McKendree along with their young coaching staff and roster has led them to boast a 3-0 start to their season. 

The Bearcats have nine underclassmen players compared to seven upperclassmen, a different look compared to past rosters posted by the team. Coach Suggs commented on this by stating “We have a very young team and a staff. I played in this league just 5 years ago so I know how hard it is to be a player and we connect well in that regard. To me, if you want to be successful in this league, it takes a great deal of talent and confidence in what you do. I think our guys have tremendous confidence in each other and our program”. This infusion of youth has helped the team defeat three non-conference opponents in Michigan Tech University, Northern Michigan University and Harris-Stowe University. This is the best regular season start from the men’s team since the 2017-2018 season. 

The numbers show that the young talent on the Bearcat squad is making an immediate impact in the first and second years of their collegiate careers. Out of the team’s top three scorers, one is sophomore guard Carson Parker, averaging 12.0 points per game. He also has one of the best averages in rebounds per game and assists per game. 

Another factor to the success is the coaching staff, a few of which just joined last season. Coach George Suggs took the reins as Head Coach this past summer after spending three total seasons with the men’s program—two as a graduate assistant and one as a full-time assistant coach. His staff is also somewhat new, with Assistant Coach Trend Blackledge and Graduate Assistant Coach Korbin Farmer arriving last summer to McKendree. A familiar face on the coaching staff is Student Assistant Coach Carrington Bass, who played four seasons of basketball at McKendree. 

Despite the challenges that may come with a young team and a new coaching staff, they’ve had an impressive feat to start the season 3-0, with two of those games being on the road to kick things off. The team went to the GLVC/GLIAC crossover tournament in Romeoville, Illinois to start their fall comeback, then returning home for the opener against Harris-Stowe University on Thursday November 18th where they took the win. Tonight, the team will travel to Springfield, Illinois at 7:30 p.m. to begin conference play against the University of Illinois-Springfield Men’s team. “As we head into conference play we just nee to continue on focusing on improving every day. We must have the right approach and attitude towards practice and games. That means coming in every day focused on getting better and helping your teammate improve as well” Coach Suggs had to say. We wish Coach Suggs, his staff and the rest of the team the best of luck with their competition as they enter conference play!

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