By Gage Nutter
At the end of last season, Pride mens basketball was ranked No. 4 in the country according to d3hoops.com. To open the new season, the website has the Pride ranked No. 7 in its initial preseason rankings.
Players on the team appreciate the national recognition, but they also understand that its how the team stands at the end of the season that matters most.
“The most important thing is to remain humble. It’s the ranking at the end of the season that matters,” said junior Heath Post. “We obviously want to be No. 1 when it comes to that. It’ll challenge us.”
With fellow NEWMAC program MIT ranked No. 5 in the same preseason rankings, junior Jake Ross is prepared for an exciting year of NEWMAC competition.
“Its nice because in the NEWMAC we already have a target on our back. We want to get this place [Blake Arena] poppin’,” said Ross. “It’s the birthplace [of basketball]. It [the ranking] is nice to have, but this is a new team. You have to take it with a grain of salt and move on.”
After making a run to the national semifinals, the team understands that opponents will have games against the program marked on their calendars.
“Other teams will see what we did last year and are going to want to mark their calendars with our names on it,” said Post. “Honestly, when you think about it, we are a resume builder. If someone beats Springfield College basketball, it’s going to look great for them. Really it’s going to take being humble throughout the season, taking it one game at a time, because if you can go 1-0 every game, you’re good.”
The team has adopted the game-by-game mentality over the last few seasons. The tournament run last season helped reinforce it, but it was the team’s loss to SUNY New Paltz in 2016 that instilled it in them that any team can lose at any time.
“If you go back to my freshman year, we lost to SUNY New Paltz [early in the season]. They ended up going 1-23 on the year,” said Post. “Then, we ended up beating [No. 1] Amherst. I think that taught us that, when you are playing college basketball, someone can beat you. If you don’t bring it every single week, you will lose games.”
The Pride opens its season on Nov. 8 at Western New England.
Photo courtesy of Springfield College Athletics