Article Written by Christian Winfield. Photo Credits Christian Winfield.
The Huskies men’s basketball team will begin a new era in this upcoming basketball season. Just recently in the spring of 2022, the team acquired a new coaching staff along with a handful of new transfer players from several different junior colleges.
The Huskies men’s basketball team had a rough end to last season with nine wins and sixteen losses. With the previous coaches leaving, the team now has Coach Quincy Henderson along with Coach Connor O’Brien.
“New team and new coaches come with new expectations,” said Coach O’Brien. “Our expectations are to improve throughout the course of the year. Our guys have brought in and are working hard, and we hope to continue to build upon that base.”
Coach O’Brien previously coached for Saint John’s University men’s basketball team for the last seven seasons. He also played for Mankato State University men’s basketball team.
Since the coaches recruited a good number of newcomers for this team, this makes the Huskies men’s basketball team start an entire new era for the school and for the program itself. Coach O’Brien said the newcomers seem to be adjusting well. The guys have been doing a great job off and on the court and in the weight room.
Despite the Huskies men’s basketball team losing a first team all-conference player Anthony Roberts along with a second team all-conference player Caleb Donaldson, they have a handful of strong and fierce players returning from the previous season. Coach O’Brien said that he thinks the team chemistry is strong because they have a great group of guys. In a college basketball season, players will be challenged and there will be some ups and downs, so O’Brien thinks the true test will be if they can stay together through adversity.
The transitioning for the new coaching staff has been a bit rough, but that is a normal occurrence. Coach O’Brien said that anytime a new coaching staff comes in, it takes time to implement everything. Coach O’Brien and Coach Henderson are both new to the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference although all collegiate sports are the same concept. The challenged transition and normal occurrence is also applied with the new players as well. Coach O’Brien said, “There are things that we have done differently, which is new for the guys and newcomers, so in a sense, everyone is working from square one.”
Coach O’Brien decided to coach the Huskies’ men’s basketball team because of Coach Henderson and his leadership. When Coach Henderson got hired, he was very impressed with his vision and approach. The more they talked, he felt more confident that this would be a great fit for himself. Those two coaches are what makes this new era exciting.
From a leader and a returning senior player, Luke Taylor’s perspective, it seems as if the expectations are different from Coach O’Brien. Luke said his expectations this season are high. They have the ability to compete in every game which is important prior to the season. They also have all the pieces to win a lot of games this year if they execute and play hard for 40 minutes.
Luke has been a part of the Huskies men’s basketball team for three seasons with the upcoming one potentially being his last. Before Luke became a Husky, he played at Bryant and Stratton College in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin. Luke has been known for being a starter and grabbing a significant number of rebounds from the previous season.
From a player’s standpoint, they also must adapt well to the new coaching style, and the coaching staff themselves. Luke said he’s adapting well to the new staff. They’re easy to play for, and they make their expectations clear. Luke said he likes the way the new coaching staff are invested in all his teammates, not as players, but as people. That is a great way to build a connection within the team.
Although something tremendously stands out within this team, and that is a great brotherhood. As if something has changed about this team and chemistry. Luke said it’s the lack of selfishness that stands out to him, and that they’re very well balanced this year. He said the balance and unselfishness will be an essential piece to their success.
With an entirely new team, the coaching staff managed to bring in seven new talented players to add on to the Huskies men’s basketball team. Luke said their chemistry is great, and the coach did an amazing job bringing in guys that mesh well with the returning players from the previous season. Luke said they are getting along great and that they will get closer as the year goes on.
New coaches, new players, new expectations, and a new era for the Huskies men’s basketball team. This is the first time in over a decade that the Huskies men basketball team acquired a new head coach and an assistant coach. Tune in for the first Huskies men’s basketball exhibition match against the Mankato Mavericks on Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 7 p.m. in Halenbeck Hall.