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Eagle basketball set to take off with revamped roster

Basketball season at Oklahoma Christian University is less than a month away as the men will play their first exhibition game at home against Calvary University on Nov. 6. 

The Eagles officially kicked off their season with an intersquad scrimmage for Oklahoma Christian’s annual Late Night Madness, celebrating the start of basketball season. 

Head Coach Kendre Talley talked about how the scrimmage went for his team.

“I think it went well; it was the first time I got to see my guys in front of other people,” Talley said. “We have a lot of talent on this roster and if these guys can figure each other out we can be pretty good.” 

Last season proved rough for the Eagles as the team endured a few cases of COVID-19. The team played with just five players on multiple occasions to follow NCAA and Oklahoma Christian guidelines. 

The Eagles are entering the 2021-2022 season with five transfers revamping the roster. This has created some new challenges.“The challenge will mainly be guys figuring out their new roles here, most contributed to the last program in a certain type of way, so our guys will have to figure out what role they have with us,” Talley said. “The main advantage is the experience part of it. Most of our transfers have contributed at this level so hopefully they can get comfortable quickly.”

Despite being a team that has not played a lot together, Talley said the roster is full of talent, and they have the potential to win consistently in 2021-2022.

The Eagles are looking to be true competitors in a tough Lone Star Conference that includes Dallas Baptist, West Texas A&M and Lubbock Christian who all ended last season ranked in the top 25 for the country.

“I know that I have some new guys and that we are playing a tough league, but my main expectation is to improve every game,” Talley said. “Once our guys start to figure each other out I expect us to get better and better.”

Senior Anthony Johnson said he matches his coaches expectations for the season.

“We have the potential to be pretty good and compete in a tough conference,” Johnson said. “The new guys we brought in are coming along, and I truly feel like we get better every day.”

Talley said this team’s identity will be the defense, being able to get out in transition to get easy buckets turning defense into offense.

“We have multiple guys that can do a little bit of everything, I think we will be a pretty good defensive team and a team who gets out and runs,” Talley said. “Hopefully defense will lead to offense this season.” 

The Eagles ranked in the top half of the conference in opponent field goal percentage and  gave up an average of 78.6 points a game last season. With a season full of COVID-19 challenges, they were able to scratch off 73.9 points a game on the offensive end. 

Talley said he is confident a big jump will be made from last year to now with transfers looking to make an impact and the bad luck of last year being behind them.

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