Lions announce 28-game hoops itinerary
SAGU schedule has early national match-up
Final roster decisions forthcoming; three starters return
WAXAHACHIE, Texas -- The Southwestern Assemblies of God University men’s basketball team had quite the encore last season.
Two years ago they improved from 12-21 to 27-11 in Head Coach Donnie Bostwick’s first season in purple and gold. It was the largest turnaround in all of college basketball.
The encore campaign witnessed the club rising to 33-5 and a run at the NAIA national championship in Kansas City. SAGU slipped in the title game to a veteran Georgetown College team from Kentucky.
Having earned a place on the NAIA map, the 2013-14 Lions can no longer sneak up on teams. Nor should they have to.
They finished last year at No. 2 in the post-season Coaches Top 25 Poll. To view that poll, click here: http://www.naia.org/ViewArticle.dbml?DB_OEM_ID=27900&ATCLID=206956961
The new Pre-Season Poll will be released by the NAIA on October 29.
They have announced their new schedule, and it is filled with sizeable challenges, especially after joining the Sooner Athletic Conference. Though there is still room for two-more games, the Lions itinerary is currently set at 28 games.
Fifteen contests are slated at home, which are played in the 1,500 seat Sheaffer Center. Ten of those will be aired in HD on SAGU Sports Live.
Following the holidays, all 18 games will be carried by the SAGU Sports Network; nine on HD video, nine on audio broadcasts. Most games will also be available for fans via LiveStats (digital play-by-play) webcasts.
The Lions have two exhibition contests coming, the first against the Alumni Lions on October 26. Then, a week later, they travel to Stephenville, Texas (92 miles southwest of Waxahachie) to face NCAA Division II Tarleton State University (20-10 a year ago). SAGU defeated then No. 8 ranked TSU last year.
Tuesday, November 5, the season tips off against Dallas Christian College. The 8:00pm game is billed as the third annual indoor Texas Snowstorm.
Countless thousands of white ping pong balls will fill the air upon the Lions first basket.
It will be broadcast in HD by SAGU Sports Live.
Two huge early season dates will pit the No. 2 Lions against the No. 4 ranked LSU-Shreveport (27-7) in a home-and-away match-up. The teams first meet on Nov. 12 in the Sheaffer Center, then again two weeks later at The Dock, Nov. 25, in Shreveport, La.
The friendly rivals met twice last year, with the Pilots taking both encounters. They came within a 3-pointer at the buzzer by Georgetown (90-88 over LSUS) in the semi-finals of playing in the championship.
Fourteen opponents had winning records last winter, six winning over 20 games.
The first-ever contest as members of the Sooner Athletic Conference occurs on December 5, at home, against Oklahoma City University (17-11). The Stars were one of four SAC teams who qualified for the NAIA national tournament in Kansas City.
There will be new rivalries surfacing in the SAC, as well as the continuing one between SAGU and Texas Wesleyan University (19-13). The entire schedule is posted on the SAGU Athletics website at: http://www.sagu.edu/athletics/mens-basketball/mens-basketball-schedule
A new feature on the schedule is a column that includes Media Coverage. It declared which games will be carried by SAGU Sports Live or on opponents’ video livestream, along with audio and LiveStats access.
Mark your calendars for what should be an interesting match-up between the Lions and John Brown University (28-7). A perennial power in the SAC, the #7 ranked Golden Eagles is the alma-mater of Coach Bostwick.
They first meet in Waxahachie on January 16, and then end the regular season (March 1) in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. The game could be aired as the national game of the week on a different network.
Fans will get their first look at the Lions during Midnight Madness, which is set for 11:30pm on October 24.
Lions Roster Nears Completion
Coach Bostwick has yet to pair the roster down to the one the Lions will go with for the season, though it will likely be announced within a week or two. Currently there are over 20 players vying for a spot on the active roster of probably 15 or 16.
Three of last year’s starters are back; point guard Dominique Rambo (Dallas, Tx / Trinity Christian, Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ), and wings Caleb “Hondo” Gentry (Hondo, Tx / Hondo HS, Oklahoma Wesleyan Univ) and junior Jonathan Walter (Garland, Tx / Garland HS).
Rambo, last year’s NAIA Co-Player of the Year, and Gentry are seniors.
The other two starters were Nathaniel “Duce” Ward (Waco, Tx / Connally HS, North Texas Univ), who led the NAIA in rebounding as a sophomore, and center Mike Nwelue (Lewisville, Tx / Lewisville HS).
Ward graduated and Nwelue (like Dwell-way) transferred to Drury University (Springfield, Mo) to pursue a medical degree.
Drury won the NCAA Division II championship with a 31-4 mark last season.
Red River Athletic Conference Newcomer of the Year, Emmanuel Adoyi (Little Rock, Ark / Parkview HS), a 6’5 sophomore forward, will likely play a critical role on the baseline.
An article detailing the new recruits will be posted soon on the SAGU Athletic website.
A detailed team preview will appear on Monday, Nov. 4, a day before the start of the regular season.
Coach Bostwick has also stated that he has retained last year’s coaching staff, which includes Assistant Coach Garrett Jones, who is in his third season at SAGU, and second year Assistant Coach Kyle Tucker.
A valued presence on the team is team chaplain, David Leatherberry. His support with spiritual directives was a very well received resource during the 2012-2013 campaign.
The Lions will unveil new home jerseys this fall.