The Midnight Madness pep rally signals the start of the Trinity university Men’s Basketball team’s season.
Senior captain Jimmy Clark enjoyed his final Midnight Madness pep rally as a Trinity student, noting the fans who came out for the event were very engaged in the festivities.
“My favorite part of the Midnight Madness Pep Rally was definitely the T-shirt cannon,” Clark said. “It had quite a bit of firepower and was a great way to reward the audience for coming to support our team and the Wounded Warriors Project.”
With their season officially underway, the Tigers are looking forward to facing their first opponent, Mary Hardin-Baylor on November 14. This away game will be a tough test for the Tigers, but they have reason to be hopeful with the team ending last season on a three-game win streak.
“We are very optimistic,” said sophomore Aaron Knopp. “We like the talent we have with the [new first years and our returning players. This is] just like every year where we set a goal to win the conference title and try to make a run in the tournament.”
Compared to the Trinity men’s basketball teams of the past, this year’s team just may have the athleticism and the talent to make a deep run in the tournament, and they may cause some noise during the season.
With the excitement of the new season underway, Clark is trying not to read too much into the highlight reel plays that are being made in practice.
“I am guardedly optimistic about this season,” Clark said. “Having been a part of teams that have won the conference championship and played in the NCAA tournament, this year’s team has the talent required to accomplish those same things.”
According to Clark, it is how the team applies their talent and how each……individual buys into his own role with the team in head basketball coach Pat Cunningham’s system that will ultimately determine the success of this year’s team.
“In comparison to previous years’ teams, what’s stood out to me about this year’s team so far is the height, length and athleticism that we have across the board,” Clark said. “We have a lot more dunking occurring in practice which should make for some really exciting games.”
Cunningham is also looking forward to the upcoming season now that the team has been able to see how they stack up against some outside competition after their recent scrimmage against St. Mary’s University.
“St. Mary’s is a very good Division II team,” Cunningham said. “They gave us a good barometer of where we are and what we need to work on in the next two weeks before our first game.”
From the scrimmage where Cunningham was able to see the depth of his team by continually rotating through his players, weaknesses became apparent, thus permitting Cunningham the opportunity to fix those mistakes before their first official game. Even though there were some miscues in the game that Cunningham would like
to avoid, Cunningham could not help but note that the work the team put in during the offseason appeared to pay off.
“The work they did in the offseason to improve themselves and now the work we are doing
in practice has us ready to pick up where we left off and improve from there,” Cunningham said. It is a young, hard- working, talented group. Hopefully we can pull it all together and get some good results when we start playing games.”
To Clark, all the team has to do is execute on the minute details and the team could be in store or a stellar season.
“We just need to continue to improve on the little things,” Clark said. “If each of those items becomes just as important to everyone on the team as scoring a basket or blocking a shot, we have a chance to be really good.”