Hopeful. When asked what the odds are that the EC Basketball season will begin as planned on December 7, second year basketball coach Ben Fuller could only say one word. Not a percent chance as expected, but instead a simple phrase that summarizes many players feelings about the season. Hopeful.
The upcoming 2020-2021 basketball season is going to be one of significant change for a program that has existed for decades. Uncertainty lingers around whether or not the season will even start, and there is little known publicly as to what the season will look like if it does happen. If the season goes forward as is tentatively expected, what it looks like is yet to be announced.
Likely, there will be a limited number of fans allowed in to watch the games, if any, said Coach Fuller. He also alluded to other regulations, which may include the wearing of masks on the bench and in practice, as well as some forms of social distancing regulations in place.
Other sports such as soccer, cross country, and tennis have begun their fall season with much success, but it is worth noting that these sports are outdoors- a significant factor in COVID-19 transmission. Much of what happens with these sports will determine whether or not basketball will be able to start come December.
“If there are no fans at our games it’s going to be really disappointing,” commented Senior varsity player Isaac Reitz. He also noted, “Even if we have to wear masks while we play or play a smaller group of teams, we’ll do what we have to do. I’d do anything to have a season.”
Sophomore Jean Italean has a slightly more pessimistic view about the changes, saying, “I’m not sure if I’m excited for this year. With all the possible COVID-19 restrictions, basketball may lose a lot of the things that make it fun.”
However, if allowed to take place, COVID-19 adjustments will not be the only change making the 2020 season look different, as this is the first season that EC basketball will be playing independent of a league. This particular change has left players and coaches with mixed feelings.
“I think it’s a good switch for our team”, said coach Fuller about the change, “Our conference for basketball makes for an often brutal schedule considering our smaller size in comparison to other schools, and going independent allows us to pick local schools of comparable size and competition level to us.”
However, not all members of the team view this as a plus. Isaac Reitz had this to say about the change: “Honestly, I’m not really for it. Last year was a hard season playing against big schools every night, and this year would’ve been rough but there’s something enthralling about going into every game as an underdog.” He also noted that, “I feel like my opinion on it will change as time goes on, so we’ll see.”
Whatever happens this season, this EC basketball season and team will be very different from past years. Senior Richard Jones has this to say looking forward to the season. “I think it will be an exciting season in which we show growth in our play and become a better team.”