Carrying over the roster from last year, minus one player, the Lehigh men’s basketball team will rely on continuity and experience this season.
The team remained in the middle of the pack last season and fell short to Boston University in the first round of the Patriot League Tournament.
Coach Brett Reed said he is excited for the team’s opportunity to grow from last season. Reed said there were a lot of challenging situations that did not allow for the team to perform to the best of its ability.
“Now that we have a foundation where we could prepare, I am already excited about the growth and development of the team,” Reed said. “I hope that continues throughout the course of the next series of months.”
Senior center Nic Lynch and fifth-year guard Marques Wilson, who was recently named to the preseason All Patriot League team, are most excited to play in front of fans again this upcoming season, after fans missed a year of games due to COVID-19 protocols. The team’s season opener at Rutgers is sold out, meaning the game will be played in front of 8,000 fans.
These protocols hampered the team from reaching its full potential last year, as it was rare for team members to be all together at one time. This year, the Mountain Hawks plan to capitalize on the opportunity to train collectively.
“The number one asset we have is access,” Reed said. “Last year we didn’t have access. We weren’t able to be in the gym, we weren’t able to be together, and so we went in with a disadvantage which was really unfair for our student-athletes.”
Reed plans to make sure the understanding of what it takes to win is well embedded in the team and its culture.
Wilson said the current team is the most close-knit he’s played with in his five years at Lehigh.
“There is a level of trust that is established when you are close to your guys,” Wilson said.
Lynch said this year, the team has more depth than last year.
“At pretty much every position, we have multiple guys who can come in and make plays,” Lynch said. “Part of this is due to only losing one person from last year’s roster and returning our only senior from last year.”
While the team is returning key players, there is also a good mix of younger talent who have a great opportunity to contribute this season.
Reed said there are some roles that will fall into the laps of the freshmen specifically.
“Whether it’s our point guard position or other perimeter help, that’s something that we’re going to be looking for (the freshmen) to be able to contribute very early in their career and do so at a high level,” Reed said.
Reed said he hopes the team building consistency and the upperclassmen playing to their abilities will translate to wins this season.
Lehigh tips off against Rutgers on Nov. 10 in Piscataway, New Jersey, at 7:00 p.m.