SIUE men’s and women’s basketball have announced their upcoming seasons after questions regarding play were left unanswered earlier this fall.
Head coach for the men’s team Brian Barone and women’s head coach Paula Buscher both discussed their upcoming seasons. When Barone was asked about the future of the team playing this year, he said he was excited not just for him but his players as well.
“My general thoughts are excited, everything that has been going on the past several months in all aspects of life right now, and to just have an opportunity to go do what we enjoy doing … it’s something that I’m really pressing on to our team, and our team is accepting that excitement and ready to go. It’s going to be interesting, but it’s going to be a lot of fun while doing it,” Barone said.
Buscher said she is also looking forward to the season, as it will bring unique challenges.
“I’m excited for it and excited for the unknown. The hardest thing for coaches is we try to control as much as we can. Right now, there’s not as many controllable things that we normally have. We have to reiterate that to our players, we have to be able to adjust … but the fun thing about this is, we are getting excited to play basketball and we are finally letting these young people get back to some normalcy and get on the court and play, and I think that is such a huge positive,” Buscher said.
While there are going to be some changes this season, both coaches said they are looking to make things as normal as possible for the staff and players.
“If you just have the focus of doing your job and going on to the next play mentality, the next game, the next scouting report … I think there will be some normalcy that comes from that,” Barone said. “One thing that a lot of us saw in this profession and the players on the team is that they have always been playing basketball since they were nine, 10 or 11 years old. To have the break we had, especially in the summer obviously where you couldn’t do what you could have done your entire life. Now getting back to at least playing basketball, having a schedule and having an opponent, I think it would be a little bit more normal then people might initially think. It’s just going to look different with the logistics on the day to day.”
Buscher said in order to make things somewhat normal for her players, they focus on the things they do as part of their regular routines.
“To me it’s about your day-to-day business, it’s about how you approach the game, it’s about how you approach practice. In that essence we are spot on of what we are doing, attacking our practice plan every day, coming back and brainstorming after practice … we are trying to do everything that we normally do. The challenges will be once we start games and start traveling and the first time there will be an issue that pops up … I think it’s going to be the teams that can be the most resilient throughout the year are the ones you are going to find succeeding towards the end,” Buscher said.
Shamar Wright, men’s sophomore guard, said he’s looking forward to getting the chance to step on the court again.
“[I’m happy to be] playing with my new teammates and having the experience of playing basketball again … just getting back to the groove of things,” Wright said.
Allie Troeckler, women’s senior guard/forward also said she was excited to play the game and share the court with her new teammates.
“I’m just looking forward to getting back on the court and playing games, playing with this new group of girls. We have a lot of newcomers coming in, so I’m excited to see what we bring,” Troeckler said.