By Annie Erickson
This year the Lewis & Clark men’s basketball team is striving to create a winning culture by developing strong chemistry and an unwavering work ethic.
In the previous season the team finished with an 8-17 record and eighth in the Division III Northwest Conference with a 4-12 conference record. Their past three years have yielded fairly consistent win totals.
This year’s new head coach is Tim McCrory who has been coaching for nine years and was most recently an assistant coach at Oberlin College in Ohio. He is excited and energized to be the head men’s basketball coach at LC.
“I believe I have been working up to this moment my whole life,” McCrory said.
His main goal for the team this year is to establish a solid community, which he believes will give rise to success.
“We want to build a foundation of community trust where everyone is working together for each other and not for themselves,” McCrory said.
The entire program this year is made up of 21 people, consisting of players, assistant coach Mark Swenson who is in his 22nd year of coaching and Nate Peterson ’22, a student who volunteered to study game film and assist the coach with scouting for upcoming games.
“Because of the large group, building a community from the ground up will encourage communication which then leads to winning” McCrory said.
Overall, McCrory’s energy has been greeted positively by the team, including forward Zeke Crawford ’20.
“It’s been incredible working with coach Tim,” Crawford said in an email. “He makes practice fun and pushes us to get better everyday.”
The men’s team did not have a foreign tour of preseason games, so coaches were not allowed to officially get involved until Oct. 15. This did not stop the players from trying to work together as a team as much as possible. They participated in open gyms and attended group workouts in the weight room.
During the preseason, the senior players were called upon to lead the team since the coaches could not get involved. Trevor Jeg ’19 was one of them
“I think that the seniors did a lot to set up open gyms as well as coordinating lifting with our great staff,” Jeg said in an email.
McCrory’s new system places emphasis on working together and the preseason workouts encouraged this.
Off of the basketball court, the team has participated in events that engage the entire Portland community. The whole team volunteered at the Children’s Book Bank where they restored books to be donated to children in need.
For McCrory, this team camaraderie is crucial to the success and happiness of the team. When reflecting on what he is most excited for in the upcoming season his answer was straightforward.
“The group of guys,” McCrory said. Crawford holds a similar sentiment.
“I am most excited for road trips and making fun inside jokes with my teammates,” Crawford said.
This team welcomes 11 returning players and five newcomers.
“This is a good balance that injects some youth into experience,” McCrory said.
From a technical standpoint, the team is relatively small, so McCrory wants to emphasize team rebounding and a fast tempo offense that focuses on the versatility and speed that the players bring to the table. The team has strong ball-handlers which supports this playing style.
“As far as expectations go, I see this team having the capability to be a playoff bound team that is very talented if we execute our offense and work well together on defense,” Jeg said.
The next game for the Pioneers will be on Nov. 19 at Portland. Their next home game will be on Nov. 24 against Lewis-Clark State.