CUA excited to begin new season on Sunday
WASHINGTON – With the calendar reading October that must mean college basketball season is ready to get underway. CUA will begin practice on Sunday, October 16 with only a few short weeks before its first game. The Cardinals are coming off their 11th 20-win season in the last 14 years after a 21-9 campaign in 2010-11.
"There's probably about 1,000 coaches in Divisions I, II and III that are all going to say they're excited about the season and I'm certainly no different," CUA Head Coach Steve Howes said. "There's a great deal of energy with our guys about what is possible with this group. They're a group of young men who are together and seem to be building a great deal of chemistry off the court, and I'm glad that it's time to see what that translates to on the court."
CUA advanced all the way to the Landmark Conference championship game for the first time last season, and the Cardinals also played in the ECAC title game. Despite registering another 20-win season, Howes and his team were not satisfied with the way last year ended.
"Our goals in the program never change," Howes said. "We want to win 20 games and we want to go to the NCAA Tournament. It's been that way for 20 years, from my mentor, coach (Mike) Lonergan, through now."
He continued, "We got half of that last year, we're not happy about it, and we'd like to go about changing that."
After graduating a strong class of seniors off last year's team, that included three-time All-American Jason Banzhaf and two-time All-Conference honoree R.J. Dixon, Howes will look to a new crop of Cardinals to step up and assume the leadership role.
"We certainly lost a lot of production and experience with the young men who departed. I think we have some very capable young men who can step in and lead by example, whether it be a guy like Chris Kearney, a young man like Billy Donovan or a senior like Andy Roell."
The Cardinals will play an exhibition game at the University of Florida on Thursday, November 3 at 7 p.m. inside the Stephen O'Connell Center. CUA's regular season opener is slated for Friday, November 18 vs. Penn State-Harrisburg at the Dickinson Tournament in Carlisle, Pa. Tip time is slated for 6.
"I think we have a very challenging schedule ahead of us. As always, it's high-powered, so our work has to begin very quickly on Sunday. I'd be lying if I didn't say there's a certain number in our program who are looking forward to traveling down to Gainesville for that exhibition game."
See what else Howes had to say regarding the start of practice and the 2011-12 season down below.