The NAIA national champion men’s basketball team opened their season Thursday with a 92-57 win over Southwestern Adventist University.
Prior to the game, Texas Wesleyan President Frederick Slabach distributed the national championship rings to the coaches and players from the previous season.
Many players who graduated last semester showed up to claim their rings, including Dion Rodgers, Trevon Jeffery, and Naiel Smith.
Head coach Brennen Shingleton was pleased with the team’s performance and said he saw some good things happen on the court. The Rams are the top-ranked team in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics.
“I thought we shared the ball well and we played pretty hard,” Shingleton said. “The team we played was challenged vertically so we had our advantages.”
Shingleton said there are definitely improvements that need to be made on the court.
“We need to be stronger in everything we do,” he said. “Monday we play the best team that we will play all semester.”
The Rams face No. 11 LSU-Shreveport at the Sid Richardson Center on Monday.
The team is still getting in a groove and learning to play with one another, but for a first game they were solid, Shingleton said.
“We had 26 assists, which is good,” Shingleton said. “We are taking the accountability approach, we’re trying not to have people score on us, and things like that. We are trying to get the guys to play hard all of the time and that is a challenge in itself.”
Forward Mike Wolfe, senior mass communication major, said the team looked good for their first outing. Wolfe scored 23 points in 20 minutes, according to ramsports.net.
“It was pretty fun, we definitely got to see where we’re at and what we need to work on for future games,” Wolfe said.
Wolfe said the team’s chemistry definitely had its ups and downs.
“It looked good at times here and there; I think it all depends,” Wolfe said. “Sometimes we got a little bit lazy because of the score, but not every team we play is going to be that easy.”
There was one thing that stayed consistent with the team throughout the course of the game, Wolfe said.
“Our pace looked nice; our coach is always emphasizing the transition of being able to get up and down the floor on both ends so I feel like we did a good job with that,” Wolfe said.
Even with a solid first victory, sophomore undecided major and guard Chris Alexander sees room for improvement.
“I think we can do better; we did what we were supposed to do,” Alexander said.
Alexander said there were three key factors that really helped the team stand out on the court.
“I think we shared the ball well, we played good defense, and we have good chemistry as a team right now,” Alexander said.
Alexander said that being able to place the ball is critical to the success of the team.
“We have to be able to make our shots and we could have been better about it than we were,” Alexander said.
The Rams face LSU-Shreveport Monday night at the Sid Richardson Center. Game time is 7 p.m. For more information, go to ramsports.net.