The Radford Men’s Basketball team is looking to rejuvenate from a grueling 6-26 overall record last season. The Highs struggled against Big South foes with a meager 2-16 record, only 5-11 at home. RU ultimately lost in the first round of the Big South Conference tournament against Virginia Military Institute 55-53.
Although disappointing, the 2011-2012 season was a rebuilding year for the squad. A new head coach and new freshmen made it difficult to pull off a remarkable season. With little time to adjust, it was hard to get situated as a team quickly.
Regardless of what the record shows, RU had some major feats. The Highs played the University of Maryland- College Park Terrapins to a close score of 65-60 at the Comcast Center. Although it was a devastating loss to an ACC school, UMD competes against the likes of Duke, UNC, and Miami, all college basketball powerhouses. The Highs also took on University of Kentucky, who won the National Championship under legendary coach John Calipari. The team last year got the experience of a lifetime playing against the best team in the nation, with players such as Anthony Davis, who got drafted to play in the NBA.
In contrast to last year, the men’s team hopes to improve dramatically. Working hard in practice has pushed the players to a new level.
When the Big South Conference released its preseason all-conference teams and predicted order of finish at the annual basketball media day kickoff for the upcoming season, the Highs were picked fifth in the North Division. As part of the league’s expansion to 12 member schools, the Big South Conference announced a divisional format for men’s basketball. RU was picked ahead of new conference member, Longwood University and behind division favorite Campbell followed by VMI, High Point and Liberty. In the South Division, the favorite is Charleston Southern. The teams were selected by the league head coaches and selected media members.
This season, men’s basketball will play a 16-game conference schedule that includes two games against divisional opponents and one crossover game against the opposing division. Division champions will be recognized and all 12 teams will participate in the Big South Conference championship held at the end of the regular season in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Radford will begin its conference play in 2013, when they take on cross-division opponent Jan. 5, which differs from years past when play began in December.
However, regular season play begins Friday, Nov. 9 at 7 p.m., when the Highs take on ACC opponent Wake Forest in Winston Salem, N.C. The game will be broadcasted on ESPN 3, so tune in and watch. The first home game is set to be held in the Dedmon Center, which features a match-up against Cincinnati Christian on Monday, Nov. 12 at 7 p.m.
It is important for RU to get off to a good start on the season. Mike Jones enters his second year as head coach of a talented team, which includes a pair of Big South All-Freshman selections from last year, R.J. Price and Javonte Green. A young squad, once again, with 8 freshmen, four sophomores, and only one junior and one senior, it’s imperative for the team to get momentum. They are going to fight hard, and compete like animals-with passion and intensity.