Thu. Nov 14th, 2019

Staff, students and faculty scrimmage basketball teams in preseason game

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With the SWAC conference tournament held at USU Eastern in March 2015, the staff and faculty want to make things interesting for the men’s and women’s basketball teams this year. They are challenging both teams to a combined scrimmage on Oct. 14 at 7 p.m. at the BDAC. That is right. Staff and faculty want to dust off their sneakers and play a little pick-up against the college teams.
“This is the first, and what we hope, an annual scrimmage between the staff/faculty and the basketball talent at Eastern,” said Jeff Spears, who is organizing the event. “While we enjoy watching every game, we feel that doing something to involve the whole college will increase fan support. The talent and upside for both teams is pretty high and I think USU Eastern has a shot at being competitive in the SWAC tournament. We invite the students to come and cheer, heckle and support both sides.”
Spears originally approached Coach Vando Becheli in the summer about playing his team. Most universities have a “tradition night” to gear up the student body for the upcoming season and Coach Vando agreed that we needed something similar at Eastern.
He said, “You know you will lose, right?”
While Spears appreciates the coach’s confidence, he believes the faculty and staff has talent as well.
he believes the faculty and staff has talent as well. Kristian Olsen, Director of Enrollment Services, once scored 20 points in a Church Ball Association (CBA) game. Additionally, Austin Preston (Digits), an Accounting Assistant in the Business Office, and all around good guy, is an unreasonably unfit 6 foot nothing and 200 + lbs. However, in his glory days of high school, he got a triple double once and shot 80 percent from the line his entire high school career. He also probably led his mission in scoring on P-day for a solid month. “If you combine all of our awards, we have 16 years of experience in Junior Jazz (most trophies still displayed at home), one MVP from 1999 at Notre Dame (Most Valuable Person Award from Notre Dame Jr. High in Price), while a few played high school basketball,” Spears said with a smirk.
Vando was also concerned about his players getting hurt during the game. Spear’s response was, “What if one of us gets hurt? Who would provide maintenance to the residence halls or process financial requests to make the college function?”
Spears said, “let’s be real here for a minute. We know that we will lose (probably by 50), but establishing tradition is what matters at Eastern. Student athletes spend hours in the gym and work on being in the best possible shape for the season. This game will be a chance for the students to see the athletes in a non-competitive atmosphere, while allowing the staff/faculty to experience college basketball. It is a win/win for all. Oh, we also have a secret weapon for the game. Coach Justin Brown will be playing for the staff/faculty team. In fact, our only play is ‘give the ball to Justin and get the hell out of the way.’ Seems simple, right?”
Lastly, the local community is invited to be a part of the event. “We want to have as many people there as possible. Students are encouraged to come to the game ready to play. Let’s get real here. There is no way we can hang with these teams for 40 minutes. We are too old,” Spears said.
Vando and the staff/faculty are committed to adding students to the game and making things interesting. “We need more support for the athletic programs at Eastern. We encourage all students to take the time and come to the game. You will not be disappointed and I’m sure it will be hilarious as well,” Spears said.

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