Accountability is Key as Men’s Basketball Gears Up For New Season

Accountability is Key as Men's Basketball Gears Up For New Season

Ryan Coyle, Reporter

The men’s basketball team is ready to embark on a season unlike any in school history as senior team captains, business administration major Patrick Douthit and mass communications and design major Sean Gorman, will be the leaders that the coaching staff will lean on during the 2020-2021 season.

The team is figuring out how to adjust to the new COVID-19 regulations. The MAC Conference announced on July 24 that all competition within the conference will be suspended until at least Dec. 31, 2020. The players had their first regular season game on Nov. 12 last season, where they fell to The College of New Jersey.

Douthit feels the team will be ready to go come game time.

Patrick Douthit- Senior Point Guard (Courtesy of Misericordia Athletics)

“Without being able to hold team practices and activities, we have to hold each other accountable. As the captain, it is my responsibility to make sure that everyone is doing what they are supposed to do in order to prepare for the season,” he said.

Practice for the upcoming season began Oct. 5 and was limited to individual skill work, but Douthit feels this unique, solitary, style of practice won’t negatively impact the Cougars.

“Our team is very good at adjusting on the fly, and we have a lot of tough guys that will hold each other accountable,” Douthit said. “We have the opportunity to walk through our offense and defense at a slower pace than we normally would. When the season finally starts, we will be ready to go and it will not take long for us to be in game shape.”

The players may also have to get used to playing without fans in the stands. A majority of sports like the NFL, NBA and college football have empty stadiums or limited seating. Gorman said that while a lack of fan support could impact the squad, he feels that he, Douthit and the other upperclassmen can help bring the juice the team needs to recreate the energy of an audience.

“Not having a crowd this year potentially will be a first for everyone,” he said. “But now, we as a team need to create our own energy and really be supportive of our teammates.”

Sean Gorman- Senior Center (Courtesy of Misericordia Athletics)

The 6 foot 7 inch center from Ridgewood, NJ is a player who typically thrives off the crowd energy, and he admits the lack of fans will be an adjustment on both a personal and team level.

Douthit agreed, saying that playing games without fans would be a wisgnificant difference, but the lack of crowd support won’t impact the performance of the team, which mostly consists of returning players.

“We have always been a team that is able to create our own energy and remain focused on the task at hand,” Douthit said.

Leadership will be key throughout this season and head coach Willie Chandler, who has two championship rings, along with Douthit and Gorman will be integral parts of the Cougars’ potential success this season.

Douthit feels this acclimation period could be a blessing in disguise for those young players, as well as the upperclassmen, enabling them to work individually to better the whole team.

“I think we have a unique opportunity to greatly improve our individual skills,” he said.

He also feels this will be a perfect time to get the younger players acclimated to college basketball without having to be thrown into competitive action right away.

The team will be focusing on drills that improve their outside shooting and conditioning while players adjust to some changes in the offensive system after the loss of two upperclassmen.

The men’s basketball team is striving to make the playoffs this season after missing out each of the last two seasons, following back-to-back championships in 2017 and 2018.