Photo by: Jeffery Miller
Coach Riley ready for first year as head of Colonels Basketball
November 3, 2016
The Nicholls State University men’s basketball team will start the 2016-2017 season next Friday in Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts to take on the Boston College Eagles.
For first year Head Coach Richie Riley this will be a return to a familiar Atlantic Coast Conference foe, after spending the previous two seasons in the ACC as an assistant at Clemson University.
Like most of Colonel athletics, men’s hoops will experience a breath of fresh air this season with the addition of a totally new coaching staff, new system and a mixture of older players and new transfers.
As part of the transitioning process this season, Coach Riley really focused on meshing as a team.
“Since the summer, our main process has been mixing some of our older players with the new transfers, getting them to know each other and also giving them me a chance to learn about them,” Riley said. “Our guys have done everything since the summer in trying to get acclimated as quickly as possible and I’m proud of them for that.”
Last season was a roller coaster ride for the most part.
The Colonels were 3-13 in Southland Conference play until riding the momentum of a three-game winning streak at the end of the season, earning a spot in the conference tournament.
The team ended up finishing 11-23 overall, with a home record of 8-4 and away record of 1-17.
Veteran experiences from older players are one aspect that the Colonels are bringing into the season.
Uniquely this season, Nicholls men’s basketball will be the oldest team in the country.
The way the recruiting class turned out for Coach Riley’s first year was great. The team will have seven seniors on the court with no freshmen and two redshirt sophomores listed on the roster.
“Experience is huge, especially at this level; it’s always good to be experienced,” Coach Riley said.
Most members of the team have years of college basketball playing experience.
Senior forward Luka Kamber and junior guard Stevie Repichowski, both transfer students, have had experience playing in the NCAA Tournament at their previous universities.
Adding to the veteran play will be DeAndre Harris, a 6’3 guard who transferred from North Texas, along with Jahvaughn Powell and Lafayette Rutledge, two transfers who both assisted in 20-win seasons for their junior college teams last year.
Liam Thomas and Ja’Danté Frye will be two returning Colonel starters from last season, along with Jonathan Bell, Adam Ward and Tre O’neal who are also all retuning from last season.
There are a lot of expectations, and some anxiousness, to see what the Colonels will bring this season.
Riley’s main goal for this season is to simply get better as a team each and everyday.
“I told our guys that I don’t set a goal as far as just a number of wins, because I want to win every single game that we play, and I think anytime you set a goal like that it’s shorting yourself,” Riley said. “We want to strive to get better everyday and continue to build a culture and a program that our community and our university can be proud of. We’ve made major strides in a short amount of time in those areas, and I’m proud of the progression we’ve made so far.”