Dallas, Tx - Fresh off of a trip to the 2017-2018 NCCAA National Tournament Elite 8 the Men's Basketball team is locked in and ready to begin again when they tip off the season on October 29 at home against Jarvis Christian College. This version of the Crusaders features 6 returners and 11 new faces all attempting to help the team make a repeat trip to the national tournament.
"We're excited about the group that we have," noted Head Coach Jordan Strom, "We love the kids that are back from last year and are thankful for the guys we were able to bring in with this recruiting class and we think that they will mesh well."
Leading the way for the returners are seniors Hunter Bennett (Monroe, La), Chance Houston (Dallas, Tx) and Kel Williams (Arlington, Tx). During the 17-18 campaign Williams (15.7 ppg) and Bennett (13.2 ppg) were second and third in scoring on the team behind first team All-American, Trey Lindsey. Williams also led the Crusaders in rebounding at 6.2 rpg while Bennett paced the Crusaders long range attack shooting better than 38% from deep. Houston, a transfer from Manhattan Christian College, sat out the 2017-18 campaign, but was a member of the 2017 SW Region Championship team at Manhattan.
Also returning to the team this season is junior Marcus Brooks (Williamsburg, VA), sophomore Jordon Watson (Milwaukee, WI) and RS freshman Dale Arnold (Texarkana, TX). Brooks and Arnold both sat out last season while Watson served as the 6th man for the team scoring better than 8 ppg while providing the team with energy off the bench.
"It's great to have guys in the program that have been around for more than one year to set the tone from the beginning. I'm proud of the effort each of these guys has put in to improve their game over the summer and now we'll see how it pays off," commented Strom.
The eleven man recruiting class is headlined by three junior college transfers and eight freshman. Junior College transfer sophomore Deontrey Fuller (Redding, CA), transfer junior Davonte Brownlee (Detroit, MI) and Ronald Whitelow (Memphis, TN) will all be expected to compete from playing time and major roles early in the season. Freshmen Devin Cubit (Oklahoma City, OK), Carey Richardson (Royce City, Tx), Lucas Tenorio (Albuquerque, NM), Max Walter (Denver, CO), Jared McBride (Decatur, TX), Christian Mavula (Dallas, TX), Josh Brown (Dallas, TX) and Vincent Escamillia (Corpus Cristi, TX) will all have a chance to compete at practice for playing time while also providing a much needed lift to the bench unit.
"Our new guys are all great guys. Each one competes every single day at practice and I know that when their time is called they're going to give us everything they have. As a coach that's all we can ever ask for with any of our guys," said Coach Strom.
The Crusaders get after it next Monday, Oct. 29, at 6:00 pm as they play host to Jarvis Christian College before hitting the road to Kansas for a couple of NAIA games at the McPherson College Classic. The big trip comes the following week as the team travels to Presentation College in Aberdeen, SD for the Strong-Isreal Classic where they'll face Nebraska Christian College and either Presentation or Oak Hills Christian on day two. The Crusaders open up region play on December 4 when they travel to Champion Christian College.