Lancer hoops ready for new competition in DI season

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A new look, schedule, conference and some new faces are just a few of the things California Baptist University basketball fans can look forward to in the 2018-19 season.

“There is a lot of unknown going into the season,” said Jarrod Olson, women’s head basketball coach, “but we are pretty excited for the challenge and we are going to work hard and see what happens.”

The “unknown” to which Olson referred stems from a roster that features eight new players and a schedule that features 14 new opponents.

Last season, the Lancers’ roster boasted just two seniors. They are hoping the experience the young group gained will carry over to the 2018-19 season.

“Building tradition and getting together with our team is really important,” said Blaysen Varnadoe, senior civil engineering major and forward. “We took those skills from last year and are using them again this year with all the new people.”

The men’s basketball team is looking to build off a 2017-18 season that included a West Region Championship and a trip to the Division II Elite Eight.

“Right now for us, it’s really about bri“nging a great effort every day,” said Rick Croy, men’s head basketball coach.

There is a lot of unknown going into the season, but we are excited for the challenge and we are going to work hard and see what happens.

While Croy said the move to Division I means more long-term planning as far as recruiting and scheduling are concerned, the team’s preparation remains the same.

“There’s always great enthusiasm,” Croy said, “in terms of how you compete every day or the way you approach putting a team together. Those things remain the same.”

Players from both teams said they look forward to playing in front of home fans at the Events Center when they open the season in early November.

“We’re very, very excited (about home games),” Varnadoe said. “All the new people and freshmen are even more excited than us, but it’s going to be fun.”

The men’s team begins the season Nov. 6 when it hosts California State Uni- versity, Northridge. The 2018-19 women’s team will make its debut at home the next day against Idaho State University.

“Opening night is just that. It’s a great night for the Inland Empire,” Croy add- ed. “It’s a great night for our program, so we’re very excited.”

About Cullen Holt

Asst. Sports Editor

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