Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Bradley Men's Basketball ready for "The Movement"

Peoria, IL - The Bradley Braves Men's Basketball only has three more practices before their regular season home opener Saturday against IUPUI, and there's room for optimism all around the program. Third-year head coach Brian Wardle thinks that his program is where it needs to be to start progressing in a positive direction.

"It's time for our program to make a move on the basketball floor upwards. It's a collective effort and the working of a group together to make a move in culture and in the program."

The Braves return 11 of their 15 players from last season, among them being sophomore guard and Metamora alum, Nate Kennell. Kennell returns to Bradley for his sophomore campaign after averaging 5.7 points per game and 53 assists, a number that made him third on the team behind Jayden Hodgson (So. - Australia), who had 57 and Darrell Brown Jr. (So. - Memphis, TN), who had a team-high 87 assists.

The main story in the Missouri Valley Conference this season for Men's Basketball is the departure of Wichita State for the American Conference and the arrival of Valparaiso from the Horizon League. Wardle thinks that the loss of a team that was such an untouchable, dominant force in the conference brings a lot more exciting games to the table.

"Every time that ball gets tossed up, anything can happen this year. That's what makes college basketball so great - the parity. If you enjoy good basketball and exciting games, you'll see a lot of them in Valley play."

Early on in the Braves' schedule, they make a trip to Nassau, Bahamas for the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase. Wardle appreciates the showcase for multiple reasons.

"It prepares you for your conference tournament. It's a lot like the Missouri Valley Arch Madness in St. Louis. You're playing a lot of good, well-coached teams back-to-back-to-back and having to make in-game adjustments."

The Braves have already played two exhibition games, a 71-58 win over Lewis, and an 87-57 win over Robert Morris-Chicago. Through those two exhibitions, although statistics won't officially count, Kennell does lead the Braves with 25 points, and the next closest player to him is Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye (Jr. - London), who has 20 points.

As mentioned, the Braves open their season officially with the Jaguars from IUPUI on Saturday, November 11th, at Carver Arena. The Jaguars have played just one exhibition game, defeating Carroll, 65-56. In 2016-2017, IUPUI finished with an overall record of (14-18), versus Bradley's (13-20).

Bradley Men's Basketball Next Game: 
Saturday, November 11th, 2017 - 1:00 pm
Carver Arena - Peoria Civic Center
vs. IUPUI Jaguars
Radio: 1470/100.3 WMBD

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