After losing in the 2022 St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) final, the Webster Men’s Basketball team is ready to come back for another season with one common goal: Do whatever it takes to win.
After losing two seniors, the Gorloks have welcomed six new promising freshmen transfer students to the program.
“In practice, the newcomers have been showing out, and there’s none of ‘I have to show coach this and show coach that,'” basketball player Javane Nugent said. “It hasn’t been that way, and years before, it has. But this year, everyone is selfless.”
On top of the newcomers, the team has also returned four out of five of its main starters, including sophomore Karl Moore Jr., a player from Jennings, Missouri.
In his freshman year, Moore started every single game except two due to injury. Moore was also ranked 17th in Division III men’s basketball for offensive rebounds per game and seventh for total blocks.
However, when asked what his goal was for this season, Moore responded with team goals instead of individual goals.
“I want to get a sense of chemistry between the old players and the new players,” Moore said.
Despite having a team full of key returners and a talented incoming class this season, head coach Chris Bunch will have to make some difficult decisions, like how to divide playing time.
“The toughest thing about coaching here is balancing that line of being loyal to the upperclassmen who have gone through all the blood and sweat and tears with you and giving the newcomers the right amount of opportunity,” Bunch said.
Bunch agreed that this is a good problem to have versus not having enough players to choose from, but it makes his job tougher.
With the possibility of their playing time at risk, players Jason Coleman, Javane Nugent, Karl Moore Jr. and Wynne Brown Jr. all agreed that they would give up their playing time in order to do what is best for the team and make the NCAA tournament.
“I’m going to trust whatever coach says,” Coleman said. “I want to win just as bad as he does.”
Nugent also added that, “This is a ‘we’ thing, not a ‘me’ thing. So, if I had to cut some of my playing time, I would do it.”
The Gorloks were ranked to finish second in the SLIAC preseason poll. However, the players are not letting this poll diminish their excitement for the year.
“I feel really good when I go to practice,” Nugent said. “I feel like we could be undefeated.”
The team hosted Illinois College on Nov. 8 at Grant Gymnasium for its first game of the season. Although Illinois College won 61-45, the Gorloks remain driven to win their upcoming games.
The schedule for upcoming Men’s Basketball games can be found on Webster Athletics’ website.