Previewing Lions’ Basketball: Men picked to win MIAA

The men’s basketball team tips off their season on Nov. 9th, a week from today. They will begin their season on the road. The Lions also have an interesting non-conference trip in store. 

The men will begin their season on the road in Mankato, Minnesota for the MIAA/NSIC challenge. They start play against St. Cloud State on Friday and then on Saturday, Nov. 10th the Lions will take on Minnesota State-Mankato. The Lions made the exact same start to last season, playing against St. Cloud State and Mankato. The only difference, the challenge was hosted by Pittsburg State in Pittsburg, Kan. The Lions began last season with a 76-70 loss to St. Cloud, and a 91-89 loss to Mankato. The men’s first home game is Thursday, Nov. 29th against Baptist Bible College at 7 p.m.

They will be heading to San Juan, Puerto Rico this season for non-conference games. They were supposed to make this trip last season as well, but it was cancelled due to the damage Puerto Rico was left with after Hurricane Maria. This time around the Lions hope they don’t have to cancel and plan to make the long trip to San Juan. 

The men have three games, and begin play on the 20th against the University of Puerto Rico. Then on the 21st they will go against Minot State, a university from North Dakota. Their final game in Puerto Rico will be on the 22nd against the University of Minnesota-Crookston. 

The men were picked to win the MIAA by the coaches about a month ago when the preseason polls came out. 

“Our guys understand it’s going to take work to accomplish that,” said head coach Jeff Boschee. “Our mindset is to be there at the end, not just at the beginning (of the season).”

The Lions finished second in the MIAA last year with a 15-4 (20-10 overall) record inside the conference, behind Northwest Missouri State. 

The Lions also graduated their top player and leader in point guard CJ Carr. Carr led the Lions in many offensive categories last year. He was the best offensive player during his two-year tenure as a Lion. 

“We’re looking for someone not to be CJ Carr. We don’t need them to be CJ Carr, we need them to get us into what we need to be offensively and defensively,” Boschee.

The Lions only graduated three players in total. The others were forward LJ Ross, and guard Vince Fritz. Both players received significant playing time, but neither was a consistent starter during last season. 

The Lions are returning players with plenty of experience, and big time scoring threats. Leading the way is Elyjah Clark, junior guard. 

“He’s got to become a good passer, he’s got to be a willing passer,” said Boschee. “It may be harder for him to get shots, he may see defenses geared a little more towards him instead of CJ.”

Braelon Walker and Parker Jennings are also returning junior guards. As well as Kinzer Lambert. Senior forward Enis Memic returns for his second season as a Lion. Sophomore Dexter Frisbie will be returning back to the lineup after sitting out last season with an injury. Christian Bundy filled in for the injured Frisbie as a freshman last season. Bundy will be out for the season this season with a torn achilles. 

Jadis White was a freshman addition to the team during the offseason. White attended Chaminade Preparatory School for four years. He is second in Chaminade history in assists behind NBA star Jayson Tatum. He is 10th in Chaminade history in steals. White helped lead his team to a 5A State Championship his sophomore season.