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SHC Men’s Basketball Players Prepare for Upcoming Season

Mens+Basketball+team+at+practice+wearing+their+Talk+to+Me+jerseys.+
Bonnie Pavelonis
Men’s Basketball team at practice wearing their “Talk to Me” jerseys.

The SHC Men’s Basketball team has been preparing for the upcoming season after losing in the first round of the SIAC tournament with a 5-15 conference record last year.

Head coach Craig Kennedy said, “When I first came here, we were transitioning from the NAIA to the NCAA level, which is a big jump in many ways, just as far as the structure that we have to have. I was fortunate enough to come in when we were full-fledged NCAA members. The program has struggled for probably the last fifteen years, and we have really grown now and become very highly competitive. We really love where we are. We lost our two best players last year, who both went Division 1, so there’s been a little bit of rebuilding but we really like the guys we have back.”

Now under the NCAA, Kennedy states the team’s ability to practice is strict during the off season. “The players have to put in the work on their own. And that’s where leadership has been so important, that the guys hold each other accountable, and I think they’ve done a good job. We have some parameters set in place, so that when they come on campus, they have to meet certain marks. The guys all did that. In the early season, we were only allowed eight hours a week, two days off. Now we have transitioned to 20 hours a week, one day off, and this is the faze we are in now, getting ready to play the competitive season. Our goal is always to win the conference and be the first team to go to the NCAA tournament. Two years ago, we were the first Spring Hill team to ever win a conference tournament game. We won the first round and then ended up losing in the second, so our goal is to get to the NCAA tournament, and that is what we intend to do this year,” said Kennedy.

Steven Lyles has played with the SHC basketball team for three years and addressed the changes he’s seen throughout the seasons. He said, “Since coming to Spring Hill three years ago, I would say there has been a drastic change in the work ethic and the leadership we have had. Over the years, guys have stepped up and into their roles, and I think this year we will be very successful based upon the progress we have made. We have been working really hard. We’ve been in the weight room a lot. Having a lot of new guys with transfers and freshmen coming in, we’ve spent a lot of time together on and off the court to help prepare us for the upcoming year.”

The team follows their motto, “Talk to me,” which is written on every player’s jersey. Juinior player Eli Lenihan said, “Our jerseys say ‘Talk to Me’ because effective communication is huge for our team–talking to each other, being on the same page. It’s what we preach, it really is our culture, and it’s super important if we want to win. We have created a culture in the last couple years, especially after having a lot of guys come in my freshman year, who are still here. Creating a culture is so important, being consistent, and preaching the right things. We came here in August, started right away, and it was slow in the beginning because we have a lot of new guys, but people have really caught on. Players are really getting it now and I feel like we’re ready.” 

The team begins their season November 8, 2023. For more information or updates on the Men’s Basketball team’s season, follow them on Instagram @shchoops. 

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Bonnie Pavelonis, Staff Writer
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