With the start of the basketball season at California Baptist University, the men’s and women’s teams are motivated to start the season out strong.
The women’s basketball team has set the standard high for this season, but the new year may bring new challenges. Similarly, the men’s team has a new focus heading into the season. With an impressive run last year, they are looking to take their journey even further with a new year and new faces.
Jarrod Olson, head coach of the women’s team, said the team’s success from the previous season serves as motivation.
“We try to focus a little bit more to this year as opposed to last year,” Olson said. “Last season has given the women an idea of what they can achieve.”
With most of the lineup returning this year, along with incoming player, and a drive for the national championship, the season is hopeful.
“I feel pretty confident every game we will have some people really focused and that we can count on to get things going,” Olson said.
The women finished strong with an impressive win, scoring 89 points against Northwest Nazarene University Nov. 19. Although NNU gave a good run at the beginning, the CBU women’s team displayed their skill level and showcased they are capable of putting up big numbers and can be dominant, especially at home.
The men’s basketball team at CBU is hungry for more progress this year after an impressive run to the Sweet 16 last season. Unlike the women’s team, however, the men’s team lost key senior players from their lineup.
“We want to bring in great people, we want to get guys that want to be at CBU and we were very fortunate to be able to do that again,” said Rick Croy, head coach of the men’s basketball team.
Among those returning are Taj Spencer, senior communication studies major, and Gelaun Wheelwright, senior sociology major.
“Spencer has great, high basketball IQ and some of the best timing I’ve ever been around,” Croy said. “You’ll see a better, more consistent playmaker in Gelaun this year. He’s learning a lot about leadership. We love having him.”
The men went up against California State University, East Bay, Nov. 19 and were off to an impressive start ending the first half with a double digit lead 42-21. Michael Smith, junior busniss major, and Wheelwright both had double digit scoring by the half, Smith with 12 and Wheelwright with 14.
The team showed its intensity on the defensive throughout the game.