Sports & Outdoors

Men’s basketball looking to improve on last year’s season


As a new season dawns on the Logger basketball team, there seems to be a new light on the success of our program.

After a 9-16 overall record, the basketball team is looking to make several improvements to be more competitive in the Northwest Conference (NWC) this year.

There are many things that are going to differentiate this year’s team from last year’s, the first of which is the incoming freshmen.

This year was a large recruiting class for freshmen, with 10 talented players. This freshman class includes three players over 6’8”.

The coaches are clearly trying to bring a more big-man heavy team than in previous years. In fact, the tallest player that is not a freshman is 6’7”.

The Head Coach Justin Lunt says that this is “one of our biggest teams we have ever had since I have been at Puget Sound.”

This height and talent will only help the players test each other and help them compete.

Senior wing Dan Cheldinas (Seattle, Wash.) said that the freshmen are already making large steps toward improvement.

“They [the freshmen] have come a very long way in the first few weeks of practice,” Cheldinas said.

This improvement inspires the competition needed for freshmen to make an impact.

“There are no spots given to anyone so it is up to them to compete every day and earn a spot to where they can make an impact on this season,” Cheldinas said.

This competition is not only between other teams, but for the spots on their own team, will only lift the play of the teammates vying for playing time.

Senior Rex Nelson backs this up.

“Everyone needs to work for their spot on the team and having that competition present is always helpful.”

There are a lot of really impressive freshman in this years class. Freshman wing Matt Bergland (San Francisco, Calif.) comes to the Logger team with high school First Team All-league honors, and a MVP of the City All Star Game.

Freshman Owen Putz (Half Moon Bay, Calif.) is 6’11” and brings a strong presence in the post with his height, along with freshman Kobi Underwood (Santa Cruz, Calif.) at 6’9” and freshman Ben Bates (Senora, Calif.), also at 6’9”.

In fact, freshman Peter French at Whitman College is the only player that has a listed height in the conference taller than Putz, at 7’.

It is a good thing that the Loggers were able to recruit such tall freshman too. There seems to be a trend in the conference to start recruiting tall players.

Both Whitman and Whitworth have recruited multiple players over 6’8”.  These tall recruits will work well in match-ups against opponents this year.

The next difference is the style of play that the Loggers are looking to approach. Last year the Loggers were an up-tempo team that would press for the majority of the game.

“This year we are slowing things down running a swing offense and playing half court defense,” Cheldinas said.

This style of play will work better with the type of team they have. They want to really control the shot clock and have a more balanced game.

“Our new style of play seems to fit our personnel and abilities better,” Cheldinas said.

The coaches are really making an effort to go with the style that will best match the abilities of the Logger team.

This new style also comes with a new mentality. The Loggers are really hoping to have a higher team connection than last year.

“Last year our mentality was a little lackadaisical, meaning we the team were not on the same page and didn’t take practice as serious as we should. This year we all work harder, work together and really share a sense of family. People push each other not only in practice but the weight room, and even school,” Nelson said.

The team will seem to succeed as a team rather than as one leader. There will not be one dominant star, but a collective of good players.

The next step is improving off of last year’s successes. Cheldinas really emphasized the team chemistry.

This summer, the team was able to go down for a tour in Mexico to play and connect as a team.

“After our team’s international tour to Mexico to this summer players seem to know each other’s roles and abilities better. Getting to practice for a few weeks and play games together this summer has really helped us get an edge on our competitors,” Cheldinas said.

“In our five games in Mexico we had five different players who led us in scoring each game. We have a very well balanced offense and many players who can score,” Lunt said.

There seems to be really concrete goals for everyone on the team. It seems like the most unanimous goal, however, is to make the conference tournament.

“Our main goal is to make the conference playoffs. We need to bounce back and have a winning season,” Nelson said.

The Mexico trip seems like it will really play wonders with more than on the court. It will increase the chemistry and the overall success of the basketball team.

We will see how the team chemistry plays out looking into their upcoming season. Their future will be bright, and the team will be fun to watch.