The student newspaper of Nicholls State University

Men’s basketball revamps team for new season

November 8, 2018

The Nicholls State University men’s basketball team embarks on its 2018-2019 campaign after a successful 2017-2018 season, which culminated with the program earning a share of the regular season Southland Conference title.

However, after the season, former Colonels head coach Richie Riley accepted the head coaching position for the University of South Alabama Jaguars.

One of Riley’s assistant coaches, Austin Claunch, filled the void left by Riley and became the next head coach of the Colonels.

Claunch said the results from last year are great for motivational purposes, but having a team with several new players requires hard work every day in order to get to the level that they want.

“It was a very special thing that we were able to do last year, but at the same time, this team is about improvement, and it’s gonna take time,” Claunch said. “You know it is hard when you get 10 new players and you can’t expect them to play their best ball, but you don’t necessarily have to. For us, it’s most important to continue to get better [so] when we come to January, we play our best ball.”

Claunch said last year’s finish can help the team find ways to become successful again.

“I think the biggest thing is just a culture of work ethic, dedication to our craft. I think the biggest thing with our success last year was just the amount of preparation we put in every single day. You know, our attention to detail on the other team, the attention to detail on our team, scouting, understanding other teams’ strengths and weaknesses, as well as our teams’ strengths and weaknesses,” Claunch said.

Senior center Daniel Regis said the most important thing to take from last year is motivation, teamwork and positive thinking.

Regis said the success from last year is a point on the path for the Colonels.

“I don’t really think much about [last season] because we wanna do better than we did last year,” Regis said. “Although it’s a brand-new team, we still wanna do our best.”

Regis said he is trying to show the freshmen their place on the team as he begins his senior season.

“In training we do a lot of teamwork, team bonding stuff, 5 on 5, get them to know their places, talk to them individually, give them some advice as a senior and returner,” Regis said.

Claunch said he commends Riley for his results during his tenure at Nicholls, and he has applied many of his coaching methods as he takes command at the helm.

“Coach [Richie Riley] obviously did an unbelievable job here and took another opportunity. It was one of those deals right place right time for me, and of course, I’m so happy for coach. Coach is one of my biggest role models in the coaching world. I’ve taken a lot of things that I value, and a lot of the things that we do now is very similar to the things we did with him,” Claunch said.

The Colonels tipped-off their season Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Stopher Gym with an 86-58 win over the Mississippi College Choctaws.

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