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Wildcats sharpen claws ahead of new season

After falling just short in last season’s Big Sky Championship, the Weber State University men’s basketball team will kick off their 2017–18 season Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. against Utah State University.

The Wildcats and Aggies have faced off 69 times in total, with the two teams going head-to-head every year since 1995.

Last season, the Wildcats beat the Aggies with a final score of 77–71. Even though WSU is coming off of a victory in the rivalry, this year’s game will be completely different for both teams.

The Wildcats will be without Jeremy Senglin and Kyndahl Hill, who are both playing professionally, and Cody John, who will miss this upcoming season due to an injury. Weber State is also welcoming in six new players, five of whom are freshman.

Mens Basketball Game 2-18-2017 (Dalton Flandro) -0550.jpg

The only upperclassman joining the program is Brekkot Chapman, a junior forward who transferred to the Wildcats from the University of Utah. For Chapman, the influence of head coach Randy Rahe and the rest of the Weber State coaching staff is one of the reasons he decided to be a

“They are absolutely, 100 percent invested in the players here, and they just absolutely love each and every guy, and they want to get the best out of every single player,” Chapman said.

The matchup with the Aggies is also the beginning of the end for WSU’s two seniors, Ryan Richardson and Dusty Baker.

“I feel like we’ve got one of the best teams I’ve ever been a part of in my basketball life,” Richardson said. “Everyone’s so close, like a family. I’m just excited to get out there and grind and battle with them.”

Before the men’s team has a chance to begin their new season, the Weber State women will step onto the Dee Events Center court. The women’s team will be facing off against the Utah Valley University Wolverines, whom the ’Cats have beaten in their past two matchups, at 4 p.m. on Nov. 10.

Deeshyra Thomas was the only member of last season’s team to have graduated, while this year’s squad has five seniors. Only two of the WSU seniors, though, have been with the team for four years: forward Jocelyn Adams and guard Kailie Quinn.

“I feel like yesterday I was a little freshman, trying to learn how to play college basketball,”
Quinn said.

Last season, the Wildcats’ final record was 13–18, leading to their preseason ranking of 10 in the Big Sky Conference coaches poll. The men’s team was selected to finish in second place this season in the Big Sky Conference preseason coaches poll.

Despite the lack of outside expectations for the ’Cats, they have one goal in mind. “Just to win the Big Sky Championship,” Adams said.

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