Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Men's basketball season starts Sunday

Following the previous years of competing in the Division III National Basketball Tournament, the men’s basketball team looks to continue their success this year when they start their season this upcoming Sunday.
The team will begin practicing with some workouts and then will start competition in November.
This year will be a test as to whether the team can repeat the success they’ve had the past two years with an almost brand new team as the team is comprised of mostly underclassmen.
One of the team’s two seniors, Michael Hoekstra, said this year, they will be aiming for the bar of success the program has had in the past. He also said this year won’t be a year of trying to reconstruct the program.
“We feel it’s not going to be a rebuilding year, it’s gonna be a reloading (year),” Hoekstra said. “It’s gonna be a lot of guys, freshman and sophomores, stepping up and then the guys with experience doing their best.”
The past season, the Vikings said farewell to the class that became the winningest team, or the team that equaled the most wins in school history, as well as the best seasonal record ever by a CCIW program. The team was also ranked first in the nation for nine weeks and they won two consecutive CCIW regular season and tournament titles.
Trying to live up to those expectations may be difficult, but head coach Grey Giovanine said it will be a benefit rather than a detriment to the team.
“I think it’s a positive thing,” Giovanine said. “I think the players that are here this year had great role models in (last year’s) class. The guys that are here learned from the best.”
Going into the season, Giovanine said there are some uncertainties as the team tries to see how each player fits,                 especially with a group of ten freshman.
“I think the biggest difference between the last couple years and this year’s (team) is there are so many variables that we aren’t sure of,” Giovanine said. “It causes anxiety but also excitement.”
Hoekstra and Giovanine both were confident in that youth wouldn’t affect the team, though getting everyone settled into their roles may be a challenge. Giovanine said the team will change as the season goes along and the challenge that will come with that.
“I think this will be a much better group in February than in November,” Giovanine said. “I’m excited about the challenges of an entirely new team. As a coach, it’s reinvigorating. We’re going to have to do a lot of teaching and putting a lot of parts together.”
Some of the returners this year who got playing time will be sophomore Crishawn Orange, Hoekstra, senior Jacob Johnston and junior Dylan Sortillo.
As for the season, Giovanine said it will be a demanding season, close to the schedule of last year with a few bi-weeks. They will be versusing some of the University of Wisconsin schools, as well as a nationally ranked teams.
When the Vikings are at home, Hoekstra said he hopes for the same crowds at the team had last year.
“I hope attendance keeps as it was last year,” Hoekstra said. “The Carver Crazies have been a staple for us.”
The Vikings first game will be on Nov. 15 at MacMurray College.

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Men's basketball season starts Sunday