By: Janeth Beltrán Apodaca | Staff Writer
The time for the men’s Basketball 2022-2023 season is here, with mostly fresh faces and a strong returning team.
Last year, the team’s season ended in the first round of the NCAA tournament leaving returning Pirates looking forward to the next season along with the nine new incoming players.
Damion Jablonski, the head coach, outlined what he expects from his team this year.
“I want our team to play unselfish offensively and be really gritty defensively and I think the guys have been getting after it,” says Jablonski.
The Pirates have seven returning players who bring a lot of experience from last year’s 22-5 season.
“I think we’ve got really great leadership from our upperclassmen,” says Jablonski. “They hold the whole team accountable to just playing with a lot of energy and that’s really exciting.”
Since August, when the team started practicing, the Pirates have been putting in a lot of work and are seeing progress with getting new players acclimated to Whitworth’s play style.
“The more reps you get in the style that we want, the better you’re going to get at it and the more chemistry we’re going to have as a team,” he said.
According to Jablonski, being able to attract talented players who are willing to buy into the winning culture of “hard work, unselfishness and willingness to play roles that are required for the team to be the best” is something that separates Whitworth men’s basketball from other programs.
Some of the incoming players have already shown to fit the mold of what coach Jablonski is looking for.
“Ty Edwards has done a great job building a lot of trust with the upperclassmen,” said Jablonski.
The Pirates will open their season against the University of Mount Union, OH which is ranked seventh in the preseason national poll. They are returning six of their players from last season.
“But we’ve got to have a growth mindset that this season is a long journey, and you’re not going to be necessarily where you want to be in game one,” said Jablonski.