The NMU men’s basketball team has been practicing since September for its upcoming season.
Freshman forward Haki Stampley said the practices have been intense to prepare the team for the season.
The team has been training six days each week in preparation for the competition this season.
“To prepare for the season, we’ve just been working hard on getting in shape,” Stampley said. “We play very fast, and we are never just standing still. We need to be in condition if we plan to play like that for the whole season.”
Freshman guard Markeem Leonard said the team has been focusing heavily on defense in training.
“Defense is a big key this year,” Leonard said. We’re really looking forward to pressuring other teams and having them lose the games on their own.”
The Wildcats’ first game is at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 5 in Mount Pleasant, Mich. against Central Michigan University. This game is an exhibition, so it does not count for the record, but Stampley said the team is looking forward to playing CMU.
“I’m looking forward to starting. I can’t wait until we get out there and start winning games,” Stampley said.
The team is anxious to get back on the court and into a game setting, said freshman forward Matthew Craggs.
“We are looking forward to getting back on the court for games because our team has really improved over the last year,” Craggs said. “Now it’s time to prove our team to the GLIAC and our fans.”
Stampley said NMU’s basketball team gets along well, and the players are meshing on the court.
“I think we have really good team chemistry we all get along good,” Stampley said. “Even if we argue we still come together in the end, and we grow as a team every day.”
The team is like a family both on and off the court, Stampley said.
“In order to have a great team, we need to be a family,” Stampley said. “So after we are done playing or practicing or whatever we always end with: one, two, three, Wildcats, four, five, six, family.”
Leonard said the players’ relationships with coaches are strong as well.
“The relationship between the coaches and players is like father and son,” Leonard said. “The coaches are there for you to support you, not only on the court but outside as well.”
The Wildcats’ first home game is at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 12 against the University of Wisconsin-Superior, followed by a second game at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 15 against Lewis University. Both games will be played in the Berry Events Center.
“Of course we’re looking forward to winning, but we’re also looking forward to becoming a good team and stopping teams with our defense,” Leonard said.