By: Matt Lood
IU South Bend men’s basketball kicks off soon. Before they do, it’s important to know who your 2023-2024 Titans are. Last season, the Titans finished the season 23-9 with a 15-5 CCAC (Chicagoland Collegiate Athletics Conference) record. The Titans would go on to finish in fourth place in the CCAC. However, the Titans basketball team has a thing for going dancing, as they were able to win the CCAC tournament.
As the fourth seed in last year’s tournament, they would go on to host fifth-seeded St. Francis at home where they got the festivities started off with a bang coming from behind to beat the Saints 51-50. The next game, they would draw regular season winners, and the first seed, Olivet Nazarene, upset the Tigers with a score of 89-76 before the championship throwdown with the Cougars of St. Xavier, winning again on the road 67-65. They took home their third CCAC tournament championship in four years and received an automatic bid to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) National Tournament.
The Titans would lose game one to in-state rivals Indiana Tech 57-82. However, this year’s Titans have revenge on their minds.
“We have had a bunch of turnover this year, but I think we filled a lot of our recruiting needs,” head men’s basketball coach Scott Cooper said.
With only four returning players from the 2022-2023 team that went on a postseason run to win the CCAC tournament, they will rely heavily on the new guys to step up and fill those vacant roles that recently graduated players like Spencer Pettit, Donyell Meredeth II, Miles Tracy and Kenny Washington left behind.
“With the talent we got, the quality of kids we got and the quality of players we have is exactly what we need to keep things going,” Scott Cooper goes on to say.
Speaking of those returners, the Titans return senior big man Dejon Barney who was second in points per game and led the team on the defensive end with 40 blocks. Seniors Sam Snodgrass and Micah Poole will also be asked to be big contributors for the 2023-2024 Titans. They will be joined by fellow returning teammates junior Dehson Burnett and sophomore big men Ross Thompson and Nick Mullins.
As for the new guys, the Titans brought in eight newcomers: freshmen guards Andrew Hedgepeth, James York, Terry Ford, Quintez Columbus and AJ Dunn and freshmen forwards Jylen Petty, Kyle Olagbegi and Kole Blasko.
The Titans will have a tall task for them this upcoming season, as the CCAC is a very competitive conference. They will tip off the new campaign Oct. 28 against the Lawrence Tech Blue Devils.