By: Stephanie Lesko
During the past few months, several changes have been made for both the men’s and women’s basketball programs here at Bryant University. With new facilities, such as a new locker room, updated arena, and a new coach, there has been more pressure added to both teams to be successful this upcoming season. There are always high expectations for entering the pre-season, but this year is different.
With the new men’s basketball coach, Jared Grasso, expectations are set high for both the coach and his players. Previously, Coach Grasso was the recruiting coordinator at Iona College, in which he produced 11- All Conference, First Team selections, as well as, 22 players who went on to play professionally in the NBA, NBA G-League, and leagues overseas.
For the players, gaining a new coaching staff was a smooth transition, but the change of intensity was a challenge to get accustomed to. Brandon Carrol, a junior guard, mentioned, “The culture is just different. We play at a different pace and at a higher intensity. The new updates in the gym and the new locker room are definitely a motivating factor for the team. We are going to win this year.” This gives Bryant’s fans lots to hope for in the upcoming season. The men’s team has had difficulties these past years with earning a winning record but are now more hopeful than ever that the new coaches and new mindsets of the players will help the Bulldogs be victorious this season.
On the men’s side, there is a lot to look forward to overall. The men’s team will play their first game on November 6 in Kingston, Rhode Island against the Rhode Island University Rams. Then they will go to the west coast to compete against Seattle University on November 11. We are very excited to see the men compete this year and finally see the results of all the hard work they are putting in. Fans are waiting in anticipation wait to watch the Bulldogs play, and hopefully, make it to the NEC Championship this year.
As for the women’s team, head coach Mary Burke approaches her 28th year in her position, yet her goal remains the same. Burke preaches to, “Make it to the NCAA tournament.” With the addition of Grasso to the men’s coaching staff, both coaching staffs have been influenced to learn from one another to get the best possible results from the players. Last season, the women’s team made it to the first round of the NEC play-offs, but came up short to Sacred Heart University. Last season was a great learning experience for the team and gave them a solid foundation of what needs to be changed going forward.
So far, Burke is pleased with how things during the preseason. The team has four new additions including freshmen Trinity Bravo and Maddison Trpcic, as well as, two transfer students, Tatianna Boyce and Megan Bianchi. With these new players and a solid start to the year, the team believes they have a leg up on the competition.
The women play their first game on November 6 at UMass Lowell then will take on rival Brown University on November 8.
To kick off basketball season, Bryant University will host the Black and Gold Tip-Off at the Chase Athletic Center on October 25, with doors opening at 9pm. The first 700 students will get a free t-shirt sponsored by Sodexo.