Following a 2021-22 season where the Rowan men’s basketball team went 23-6 but fell short of the New Jersey Athletic Conference (NJAC) Championship and made a run in the NCAA Division III tournament, the team is looking to build off last year’s success to come out even stronger in 2022-23.
For the first time since the start of the 2019 season, the Profs and Head Coach Joe Crispin don’t have to worry about following any specific COVID-19 guidelines, and Coach Crispin believes that alone will help the Profs this year.
“Last fall was weird, we were still dealing with COVID. We don’t really have to mess with that anymore which is refreshing so it just feels like a normal season,” Coach Crispin said. “There were all these things last year… I didn’t realize how much it kind of wore us out, but they did.”
The Profs are returning a vast majority of their starters to the lineup, including senior guard Connor Dickerson and junior forward Andrew Seager, making it easier for the team to continue to build off the chemistry they had last season.
Dickerson saw the same situation play out during his freshman year, as the team retained many of their starters that year and saw their chemistry on the court rise as a result of it, finishing with a 22-7 record and an NJAC Championship. Dickerson expects the same for this current Profs team.
“If you go back to my freshman year and the group that I was coming in with, the year before, from what they tell me, they were disorganized and not in flow with one another,” Dickerson said. “But as you can see by the results that they had my freshman year, I like to think I had something to do with it, but they performed a lot better because of that.”
While retaining many of their starters will help tremendously on the court, it helps the Profs off the court just as much as they are able to continue to build off of the cultural foundation that they laid last season.
“We are trying to stand on this culture of buying in and everyone having a certain role, and all about winning,” Seager said. “As a team, we really bought into the weight room in the offseason. We were at everything, preseason conditioning, working out, lifting no matter what it was, we all bought into it. I feel like we’ve really become one unit, moving in one unison in a way.”
In addition to the Profs being in unison on the court, they all share the same expectations for the team.
“We think we can win the NJAC,” Coach Crispin said. “We want to win the NJAC every year and go deep into the NCAA tournament, that’s our goal.”
The Profs open with a tough first four games, as Stockton University and Wesleyan University are both in the top 25 in the D3hoops preseason rankings, while Swarthmore College just missed.
Despite this, Coach Crispin’s message to the team is simple.
“If you want to be great,” Coach Crispin said. “You got a chance to figure out how.”
The Profs’ quest for greatness starts at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 8, as they host the Swarthmore College Garnets to kick off their season.
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