The Jaguars men’s and women’s basketball teams are fired up and preparing for their regular seasons to start next month. The head coaches of each team spoke about what to expect this season.
Last season the men’s basketball team finished 8-10 overall last season and 7-9 in the Horizon League. Head coach Matt Crenshaw is gearing up for a new season and hopes to come out stronger.
“The message we’re preaching right now for the team is just to get better every day and we’re also talking about this particular group laying the groundwork, laying the foundation for the future of the program,” Crenshaw said.
He talked about how they have some seniors who will be playing for a new coach and how it’s all about leaving a legacy and leaving their mark for the future Jaguars in the future. Crenshaw said it’s also about laying the blueprint for how they want things to be moving forward. He spoke on goals for the season being individual improvement and to improve in the conference standings from where they were last year. Crenshaw explained how he’s a competitor, wants to get to the conference tournament and how that’s always going to be the goal.
“We want to set our expectations high so we can always have something to grind and to keep us motivated trying to achieve,” Crenshaw said.
Two of the team’s leading scorers last season, Marcus Burk and Elyjah Goss, decided to go professional, while another, Jaylen Minnett, transferred to another school. With those three gone, they now have a young team. Their first game of the season against Butler will be a challenge, but for Crenshaw it’s a welcome one.
“We always want to try and play a challenging and competitive schedule, we like to always play one of those power five teams,” Crenshaw said.
Whether it’s Purdue, Northwestern or Butler, he likes to play one of those local power five teams within a two hour drive. Crenshaw believes it helps in recruiting to play a challenging schedule. He also touched on Hinkle Fieldhouse being a special place with the history, people in Indiana.
“I really wanted to challenge our guys, it’s going to be a tough game,” Crenshaw said.
He noted that Butler is returning their whole team from last season including those who were injured and that they’ve even added pieces.
“They’re going to be really good and what you want to get out of those games is really just experience, for when they get into maybe playing in a conference tournament or you’re playing in that game to get to the conference finals,” Crenshaw said. “It’s all about experience, that’s what we’re lacking right now is experience in actual playing.”
Their roster includes quite a few upperclassmen, but with the pandemic and past seasons, they didn’t get the experience past players received. Crenshaw said they have a lot of juniors and seniors, but not a lot of experience actually being out there on the floor 30 minutes a game.
“Obviously you want to go into games trying to win 100%, but you also want to learn something from every game so for us we want to go compete, we want to win and we want to use that as an opportunity to get better,” Crenshaw said.
The men’s team tips off their season with an exhibition game against the Anderson University Ravens Wednesday Nov. 3rd at 11 a.m. at Indiana Farmers Coliseum. The start of their regular season will see them travel across town to take on the Butler Bulldogs Tuesday Nov. 9th at 6:45 p.m. at Hinkle Fieldhouse.
When it comes to the women’s team, they finished 15-5 last season and 11-3 in the Horizon League. They have quite a bit of experience on this season’s team with players returning with the extra year of eligibility that the NCAA granted players due to the pandemic. Head coach Austin Parkinson touched on goals they’re bringing from last season.
“One of the things from last year we talked about was finishing through the line, some of that was due to covid, being out of the conditioning shape when the season was interrupted halfway through and conference, but we felt like in some of the fourth quarters especially late we felt we didn’t finish quite the way we want to,” Parkinson said.
He touched on the added depth the team has this season and that with that added depth, that they’re stronger in the fourth quarter. Parkinson said they have a pretty veteran group coming back, touching on their two post players Macee Williams and Morgan Allen. He also mentioned the return of Rachel McLimore, Destiny Perkins and Natalie Andersen. Parkinson said they have really good players that continue to get better.
“We want to win a regular season championship and a tournament championship.“We talk about that one time and one time only in our first meeting in the summer and then we never speak about it again,” Parkinson said.
He said they talk about being very process focused, trying to get better every single day and build good habits.
“We’re very defensive oriented, we guard really really well, that’s always kind of the backbone of what we do,” Parkinson said. “But I think the last couple years, our perimeter shooting and ability to share the basketball that puts shooters in a good position to score has made us really effective.”
He explained how those techniques made them one of the better offensive teams in the country last year including leading the league in three point percentage. Parkinson credited that to the players and the work they put in. When fans show up at games, they should expect to watch a fun team. He touched on a couple transfers they got who are both high caliber players that will add to a pretty solid team already.
“Our players always play really hard and they play the game the right way, they try to play unselfish, I think it’s a fun group to watch,” Parkinson said.
The women’s team tips off their season with an exhibition game Nov. 4th against the IU Northwest Redhawks at 7 p.m. at home in The Jungle. The start of their regular season will see them travel to Ann Arbor, MI to face off against the Michigan Wolverines Tuesday Nov. 9th with time to be announced.