By: Madi Devries
UF Men’s basketball is hopeful to pick up right where they left off.
After their stellar 2018-19 season, where they went 29-5 but ultimately fell short in the NCAA tournament, losing to Bellarmine. With that behind them, the Oilers looks to build on that and continue the success that the team has had for so many years. Redshirt sophomore forward, Brady Wildermuth, is hopeful that this year’s squad can continue that success and hopefully bring home another title.
“Everybody expects us to be great, so we know what we have to do to be great, and we know how to prepare ourselves…to have a great season like we have had the past two years,” said Wildermuth
In the preseason poll, The UF Men’s Basketball team are ranked 22 in the country. Junior guard, Anthony Masterlasco, says that being ranked is a good for them and he likes where they are sitting. Some might think that being ranked is a distraction but for Masterlasco, it’s striving them to be even greater.
“it’s a good starting point for us, and I don’t really think it bothers us at all, it’s more just motivation,” said Masterlasco.
While the Oilers have some motivation to excel past their recent records, there seem to be two pieces missing: standouts Alex White and Trey Smith, who were both seniors this past season. White put up an astounding 8.6 rebounds per game, as well as 18.7 points per game average last season, with Smith close behind at 11.9 PPG.
Both were very important pieces for the Oilers last year. However, Wildermuth is confident this team will be ready to fill those voids. One being Tre’Maine Gray, a Junior guard who transferred to Findlay from Sinclair Community College. Wildermuth is excited to play with Gray and think he will be a fine addition to the team.
“He is going to be a really good guard for us, whatever his role is. He’s really good at doing everything, and he is very athletic,” said Wildermuth. He also said that the freshmen on the team seem to be fitting in very well up to this point.
“They’re [the freshmen] coming in with the right mindset and working hard every day,” said Wildermuth.
Masterlasco shared that sentiment and agrees the chemistry will be a huge part of their success this season.
“They are all hard workers, they love to be in the gym and get better, and a lot of them focus on defense, which is really important to us,” said Masterlasco. “A lot of the small things that Coach [Ernst] values are what they bring to the table.”
The team’s chemistry on the court, their mindset as individuals as well as a group, ability to work hard, and push themselves past all standing expectations will be a great way to show everyone what they already know they are capable of, another championship.
The Oiler will begin their regular season at home against Truman, Nov.8 at 5 p.m. in Croy Gymnasium.