JOPLIN, Missouri – The Missouri Southern men’s basketball team were preparing for the national tournament when they learned the season had been called off due to COVID-19.
“We had all our bags packed and we are learning that we are not playing anymore,” said junior forward Christian Bundy. “So we just had our team meeting like right after that. Lots of tears. It was overwhelming but adversity is adversity.
Now they’re back on the ground to go back to where they left off.
“The majority of our men’s seasons were cut short last season,” said head coach Jeff Boschee. “You know, the incoming guys, got a few Division One transfers as their season was cut short. So, you know, I think at least our guys are just ready to start playing and having fun again.
The Lions finished 23-8 last season and were set for a long post-season run.
This season, they will be incorporating several new faces into the mix.
“Our first game is in a month,” Bundy said. “You know, we have to get in there. I mean, we have a lot of new guys coming in.
They will count on returning players like Cam Martin and Winston Dessesow to play key roles this season.
“You know, obviously Cam is going to be the focal point of our attack and you know, Winston when he comes back,” Boschee said. “He’s a little gimp right now with an injured knee, but you know, once he gets back we’ll have a little rhythm, trying to figure out where we’re at.
But with a shortened, non-traditional preseason, the emphasis is on acclimatizing newcomers to the program.
“It’s the most important thing for me, you know, is trying to figure out what we have, who will be able and ready to play,” said Boschee.
With last season ending so abruptly, Bundy says she now serves as extra motivation to have a successful season.
“We haven’t won any championship whatsoever,” Bundy said. We haven’t won a conference championship, a national championship. We haven’t won a conference title yet. So, I mean, I really want to be able to do this for our graduate guys like Stan, Cam, and RJ because they deserve it.
The Lions will begin their season against the University of Central Oklahoma at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 19.