Texas State sports fans have been itching for the new era in men’s basketball since the hiring of basketball coach Danny Kaspar in the spring.
It will begin Friday, with the team’s first practice, which will take place at 1:30 p.m. at Gym 101 adjascent to Strahan Coliseum. Practices are closed to the public.
The Bobcats will play in their third league in three years as they move to the Sun Belt Conference. With that change, the Bobcats will unveil Kaspar’s defense-intensive style. Kaspar’s teams at Stephen F. Austin have finished in the top ten in scoring defense, nationally, for each of the last six years.
But there also is a measure of optimism based on the returning players. Chief among them is senior forward Joel Wright, who led the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) last year with 17.4 points per game. His 32 points earned First-Team All-WAC honors along with WAC All-Tournament honors. He scored 32 points in the WAC Tournament quarterfinals last year enabled the Bobcats to pull a 72-68 upset over top-seeded Denver.
Wright will be joined by seniors Gordon Ball, Phil Hawkins, Reid Koenen and Corey Stern along with two other returners in Ray Dorsey and Wesley Davis. Nate Velasco and Jeremiah Moore redshirted last year.
Koenen is the top returning free throw shooter for the Bobcats, hitting 82.8 percent a year ago (53-of-64). He scored a season-high 24 points at Seattle, helping the Bobcats to their third straight win at the time.