This archived article was written by: Kayla Newman
The USU Eastern men’s basketball team has been on fire during their exciting preseason. Going undefeated in their last three tournaments, the Eagles have the drive they need to go into conference play stronger than ever.
Preseason sets the tone for the whole regular season. The effort and work the team put into preseason, will likely reflect how the team will keep doing. Coach Adjalma Becheli said, “We have been through a lot of things this year already. We are down now to just 10 players, but the team is playing well so far. We are 10-2 and the players have been working so hard on and off the court to represent USU Eastern the best we can and I think that we are doing a great job so far.”
At the Snow Tournament, the Eagles destroyed Treasure Valley Community College, 105- 68. Brandon Sly lead the team with 25 points, Soloman Rolls-Tyson added 17 and Phllip Winston 16. The Eagles then went up against Central Wyoming College, beating them 82-64. Winston lead with 16 points, while Rolls-Tyson lead with 15, and James Furlow with 14.
Coming into the Mustang Invitational, the Eagles kept their winning streak rolling. They beat Western Wyoming Community College in a close game, 82-75. Sly lead with 17 points, Furlow 16, and both Tevin Ferris and Winston with 11. They then played against Planet Athlete, winning 116-70. Furlow lead with 29 points, Rolls-Tyson 16, Farris with 14.
As the Eagles moved into the Sheridan Classic, their last tournament until conference play, they didn’t let their momentum falter. Beating Central Wymoing again, 87-76, Furlow lead the team with 21 points, Winston and Sly 18 and 16 points, respectively. The Eagles ended their preseason beating Sheridan College, the host of the tournament, 82-76.
Coach Vando is pleased with the team and all the hard work they’ve been putting in. As they transition into conference play, Vando said, “conference play is the best time of the year because we will see where we are compared to the other teams.
“It’s always exciting to compete in our Conference because every year, we have at least three teams ranked in the top 25 in the country. The kids and the coaching staff are looking forward to start the conference games and I hope that we can play well enough to be at the top of the Region 18.”
Coach Justin Brown has seen the team go through some hard things and is so proud they have come together and played so well thus far. Going into conference play, Brown says, “I feel very good about the group of guys we have going into conference play. As a group, these guys have been through some tough times and the basketball court has definitely been a place where they can escape to and not worry about anything but the game.”
The men’s basketball team wants to reach new limits and set the standard for Eagle’s basketball. The team has many goals for this year to do just that. “As a coach, the first goal that I have is still improving as a team and individually. We want our players to get better in every opportunity that they have to compete on the court. They are hungry to learn and get better every single day. They are working very hard every day and it is paying off when we play,” said Coach Vando.
The team begins conference play on Dec. 10 at Snow College at 7:30 p.m., then has their second game later that week at Salt Lake Community College on Dec. 12 at 7:30 p.m.
The team has a simple goal for the season to try to maintain their fire and the winning streak they’re on; “…every single week, our goal is to be 2-0. We do not look further into the season, we are to focus on the right now, and right now 2-0 every single weekend is the only goal,” Vando said.