The annual Late Night Madness on Oct. 10 kicked off the Oklahoma Christian men’s basketball regular season. The Eagles look to turn heads in the Lone Star Conference.
The Eagles come off a 2021-2022 season which did not go as planned. The team finished in the bottom three of the conference with a 4-11 record and finished the season 8-18.
Going into this season, Oklahoma Christian brought in a few key transfers who are looking to make an impact. Karlyn Kenner from Southern Nazarene University, Antonio Gordon from Southeastern Louisiana and Jovan Savic from Belgrade, Serbia are all transfers who head coach Kendre Talley expects to play a major role in the team’s success.
“We added some solid pieces who are going to build on what we started last season,” Talley said. “We also have key returners who played well all last season.”
Leading scorer and rebounder Drew Tennial and starting point guard Moun’tae Edmundson who led the team in assists, three-pointers and minutes played are both returning for their junior seasons. Nyk Madison is returning for his second year and D.J. Walter is set to return for his fifth year.
These core four players coming back provide continuity for the program, but with key transfers, the Eagles’ roster also improved during the offseason.
“We are going to take a stride in the right direction this season,” Talley said.
The Eagles began full practice a couple of weeks ago and Sophomore Tyler Toth sees signs of improvement from last season.
“We definitely got bigger and more athletic,” Toth said. “So far, we are looking like a team who could surprise some people.”
New additions to the roster bring opportunities to change stylistically. Last year, the Eagles finished last in the conference in scoring, averaging 67 points per game. They also specialized in zone defense due largely to a lack of size. Now, Talley said they look to have more options offensively, both in style and players.
“Our team is bigger and more versatile,” Talley said. “We will look to play more man-to-man compared to last season as well.”
Toth spoke on changes in terms of style from last season.
“It definitely has changed, and players we brought in have made a lot of this possible,” Toth said. “It allows us to do more on the court and not become one-dimensional.”
One success the Oklahoma Christian basketball team experienced last year was the willingness to play team basketball. The Eagles averaged over 13 assists a game, which was top eight in the conference. Ball movement was another strength on the offensive end.
“We did not really take anything away from last season,” Talley said. “Just added to it.”
Oklahoma Christian starts their season at home on Saturday, Nov. 5 at 3:00 p.m. against Sterling College.