The Texas Wesleyan men’s basketball team is off to arguably their best start in quite some time.
The team is currently ranked No. 12 in the nation and is sure to move after knocking off No. 20 Southwestern Assemblies of God University on Thursday. The Rams, led by Jerell Ellis’ 24 points and 13 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots by Henry Buckley, beat the Lions 84-76.
This is a very experienced team, led by seniors Ellis, Sam Akano and Chris Gracela. These three were also the leading scorers last season.
Ellis and Buckley are both returning from season-ending injuries from a year ago.
Riding a six-game win streak, the Rams are sitting in second place in the Sooner Athletic Conference with a 16-4 record, including 7-2 in the conference. The Rams have a big showdown on Saturday against first place and seventh-ranked Mid America Christian University.
The Rams will have to bring their best effort to stop Mid America, as they will be looking to avenge a 111-101 loss back on Dec. 5.
There seems to be a sense of excitement around campus about the Rams, as this team is getting national attention. If they can knock off Mid America on Saturday, they will be a force to reckon with come conference tournament time (March 2-5) as well in the NAIA national tournament, which is March 16-22.
If you haven’t had a chance to come out and watch a men’s game, you really need too. They are really good and really fun to watch.
I think the biggest difference between this year’s team and last years is the injuries. Last year the team was missing a lot of guys down the stretch and appeared to be lacking depth at forward and center. They went out and fixed that in the off-season by adding depth at those positions, including Chier Ajou, Eric Stubbs, Fredrick Carter and Shaun Rost.
It’s my last semester here at Wesleyan, and I would love to be a part of the experience of watching this year’s team make a serious run in the tournament. I think they have the talent and the depth to do it.