BY: SHAKIA COLLINS | STAFF WRITER
The men’s basketball program has started to gear up for the 2015- 2016 season and with the addition of several new players, the team finally has the length that has been missing in past seasons. Last season the team went 21-8, landing fifth in the Pac-West standings. The team will start its season on November 13th against Western Oregon.
PLNU Athletic Director, Ethan Hamilton, said the team has been skilled and well coached in the past, and that the addition of size should be helpful this season.
“There is an element that size matters,” says Hamilton, “I think as a coach you want as many weapons and options to be able to match up with different teams, that was a struggle last year, and I think it’s always a struggle.”
PLNU added two new forwards that give the team some height: 6’8 junior Tanner Lancona from St. Louis University and 6’10 freshman Cameron Gilbert from Arizona State University.
Gilbert was a red-shirt freshman last year at ASU. Gilbert said Coach Carr takes basketball very seriously and the intensity of practice is about the same as it is at ASU; though PLNU is a division II school, Coach Carr does not treat it as such. Gilbert said he hopes to find his role this season and be a presence that the team was missing in previous years.
“I feel I bring good size and I’m a better rebounder than we have had in the past,” said Gilbert, “I think I will bring a lot to the team.”
Senior guard Judd Welfringer said he is happy with taller players com- ing in because having a bigger line-up helps with the team’s interior defense.
“[the size on the team helps because] In our league we compete against guys that are bigger,” said Welfringer. “So it is going to be nice to be able to compete against them defensively.”
In previous seasons Welfringer played as a power forward, but this year he will move to guard.
“I’m happy about it, I would have to be playing against guys that were outweighing me by 30 or 40 lbs.,” said Welfringer. “So now I will be able to move out and play against smaller guys.”
PLNU was ranked seventh in the PacWest preseason poll according to the preseason coaches’ poll. Gilbert and Welfringer said that this just motivates the team to work hard in the preseason. Cal Baptist University leads the poll; with PLNU rival Azusa Pacific University holding the number four spot.
Welfringer says he hopes the team does well to make it to the post season.
“They are all really good players,” said Welfringer. “ And I think we are going to have a successful year.”
PHOTO CREDIT: PLNUSEALIONS.COM
Click here for complete 2015-2016 Men’s basketball roster.