Men’s basketball: preview

Joe Hanretty, Contributing Writer

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The men's basketball team hopes their talented recruits can spark change and add to the success of last year's team. Photo by Elizabeth Kerin.

Coming off a successful 18-9 season, the University of Dallas Men’s Basketball team is looking for even more success – this time hoping for more victories within conference play. The Crusaders finished 7-7 against Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference opponents, and seemed to struggle especially on the road. This season should be one that is very different from years past — at least, that’s what junior guard/forward Austin DiCambio thought.

“The biggest difference is the addition of two new assistant coaches,” DiCambio said. “Coach Samples brought in these guys to help concentrate on both ends of the court.”

This formula seems to be working especially well for the freshmen, all of whom are already very talented and possess tremendous potential to help the team this season.

“Samples and [Coach] Grahn have gained a lot of respect from us older players by recruiting true talent,” DiCambio said.

Sports fans here, and really everywhere else, have been treated to countless speeches about potential. Some end up being just words, but for our team, let’s trust that the recruits pass the eye test.

Last year, when the UD faithful crowded the Maher Center, they were usually entertained with long-range shots that got the crowd on their feet. That will not change much, but the way the team finds those shots will.

“The offense has gone from a four (out) – one (inside) motion to an offense that splits the floor down the middle, performing two sets of motion,” said Dicambio.

In this way, the opposing defense will either be trying to get around screens and either losing the big man down low or leaving space on the outside for the 3-pointer, which made up 43 percent of UD’s shots last season.

“On the defensive end of the floor, we have been more focused on building a chemistry where everyone is basically on a string, helping around screens without hesitation and anticipating pick ‘n rolls,” Dicambio said. “Samples has been able to diversify the practices: each coach takes a group of players and works on a single skill or scheme, almost like a UD classroom setting where the coach can give special detail.”

DiCambio gave the impression that the players seem to be bonding well, building the chemistry that is necessary to any team’s success, and truly buying into the coaches’ words and ideas. Their season starts on Sunday, Nov. 15, but their first home game is not until their sixth contest, when they host Curry College. That gives us plenty of time to prepare for a new campaign in cheering our boys on as they fight for a conference championship.

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