The men’s basketball team didn’t keep their national title but still enjoyed their winning season, guard Demarcus Emanuel said.
“I think the season was a little successful because we won conference and had a winning season,” Emanuel said, “but not successful because we didn’t win nationals.”
The team (22-11, 14-6 SAC) was disappointed about losing so early in the national tournament, Emanuel said. The Rams lost 61-70 to Graceland University on March 15 in the first round of the NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball National Tournament, according to ramsports.net. Graceland went on to win the tournament.
The loss came 13 days after the Rams lost to Southwestern Assemblies of God University in the semi-final game of the Sooner Athletic Conference tournament, according to ramsports.net. The Rams won the regular-season SAC title for the third year in a row.
“I feel we just got out rebounded and didn’t hit shots,” he said of the Graceland game.
The best part about being a Ram is that the team is really a family, guard Rob Thomas said.
“My favorite thing about this team was that we were a family,” Thomas said. “Even through rough times we knew we had our brothers, for example when we had a little scuffle with Wayland at home.”
The team wouldn’t want to change anything about this season, Thomas said.
“Overall, I think this season went how God planned it to go,” he said. “I don’t know if that was to win a national championship or to win conference, but I know it went as God planned it to go.”
The most important thing Texas Wesleyan basketball teaches its players is how to win on and off the court.
“Coach (Brennen Shingleton) really does a fantastic job of relating a lot of things that take place on the basketball court to the real world,” Thomas said. “He molds us to be great men for our future families; it’s bigger than basketball.”
Guard Chris Alexander said that Wesleyan’s basketball team hasn’t just grown him as a player but as a man, too.
“I’ve created so many lifelong memories that will always stick with me,” Alexander said.
Alexander said that his favorite thing about being on the team isn’t games or practices.
“My favorite thing about this team is the fact that we’re not just a basketball team,” he said. “We’re a family on and off the court.”
Alexander said he feels like the team could’ve done better than it did this season.
“Overall, I feel like we didn’t match our full potential as a team,” he said. “In my eyes, we were the best team in the nation. It’s as if we left something on the table.”
Guard Branden Jenkins said the team was disappointed that they didn’t meet their goal of winning another national title.
“It wasn’t the result we wanted; we played a good team and they came ready to play and we didn’t play well enough to win,” he said.
However, the season was still successful because the team won the toughest league in the country for the third consecutive year, Jenkins said.
“My favorite part of the season was competing every day with my brothers,” he said.
The team set a goal to win another national title at the beginning of the season, Jenkins said.
“We were definitely heartbroken,” Jenkins said. “We went out in the first round, but we never held our head down or turned on one another.”