Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Bradley Men's Basketball holds first Official Practice

PHOTO / ALEX STAAB
Peoria, Ill. - Soon, October will be upon us. For college basketball fans, that means the start of a new season. On Wednesday afternoon, that was exactly the case for the Bradley Braves men's basketball team, who is looking to make some noise in the Missouri Valley in 2018-2019.

The Braves are led by fourth-year head Coach Brian Wardle. Wardle currently has a record of 38 wins and 60 losses on the Hilltop. His full coaching staff returns: Drew Adams, Mike Bargen, and Jimmie Foster are the assistants. Ryan Sharbaugh is the Director of Basketball Operations, and Troy Pierce is the Coordinator of Player Development.

Bradley is also returning a good core of leadership, with seniors Luqman Lundy, Luuk Van Bree, Peter Hanley, and Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye leading the way.

Coach Wardle and Metamora alum Nate Kennell shared their thoughts on the official start of the new season.

Coach Wardle on the team's unselfishness:
"We recruited guys we could lose with, guys that would stay the course, would want to put the work in, that would want to get better. When you get a locker room full of those guys, I think good things can happen. I truly feel this is one of the most unselfish groups I've had in my coaching career. You got to grind it out. The work never lies."

On the start of the 2018-19 season:
"It's my favorite time of the year. The offseason can go long. It's a lot of workouts. We probably had over 35 small-group workouts. We had team practice, we had team games this year in Europe. The guys have had a great offseason. There's something different when practice comes. You get your practice gear on and know the games are coming up quicker. That excites and gives everyone a boost of adrenaline."

On Jayden Hodgson:
"He's gotten even stronger. He's made incredible strides with his body and strength. He's played very well this offseason and I think you'll see him being more aggressive and more assertive and scoring a little bit more."

On Elijah Childs & Antoine Pittman:
"You look at a guy like Elijah Childs or Antoine Pittman, who didn't play last year, that have had really good offseasons. Elijah was a freshman and played a role, came off of the bench. I think you'll see him take steps this year for us, and then Pittman sat last year and developed, his offensive game, his decision-making got his body stronger."

Nate Kennell on what's improved for him since last season:
"Definitely just continuing strength and conditioning. It's always a really important piece, just never getting tired in your games."

On Support from the fan base:
"It's what you want. Just having the fans, and having everybody around you supporting you, it's really exciting, and it definitely helps when you have people behind your back."

On starting the first official practice:
"It's really exciting. Guys have been waiting for this moment. This is the time where you can show what you've improved during the offseason. So you have to really show your game."

2018-19 Bradley Men's Basketball Roster
#      Name                                      Ht.        Gr.          Pos.               Hometown/Country
1      Ari Boya                                  7'1"       Fr.           Center            Cameroon
2      Luqman Lundy                        6'3"       Sr.           Guard             Edgewater, New Jersey
3      Antoine Pittman                      6'3"      RS-Jr.      Guard             Rockford, Illinois
4      Armon Brummett                    6'4"      Fr.            Guard            Decatur, Illinois
5      Darrell Brown                         5'10"    Jr.             Guard            Memphis, Tennessee
10    Elijah Childs                           6'7"      So.            Forward        Kansas City, Missouri
12    Koch Bar                                6'11"     Jr.             Center           South Sudan
13    Luuk Van Bree                       6'9"       Sr.            Forward         The Netherlands
14    Peter Hanley                           6'7"      Sr.            Forward          Peoria, Illinois
22    Ja'Shon Henry                        6'6"      Fr.             Guard             Canada
23    Dwayne Lautier-Ogunleye     6'4"      Sr.             Guard             England
25    Nate Kennell                           6'6"      Jr.             Guard             Metamora, Illinois
35    Jayden Hodgson                     6'3"      Jr.              Guard             Australia

18-19 Bradley Men's Basketball Schedule
10/13 | Red-White Scrimmage (@ Renaissance Coliseum) | 2:00 pm
11/1 | vs. Carroll University (Exh.) | 7:00 pm
11/7 | vs. UW-Parkside | 7:00 pm
11/10 | vs. SEMO | 1:00 pm
11/14 | vs. Jacksonville State | 7:00 pm
11/17 | @ UIC | 7:00 pm
11/20 | SMU (@ Cancun, Mexico) | 5:00 pm
11/21 | Penn State or Wright State (@ Cancun, Mexico) | 5 or 7:30 pm
11/24 | vs. Chicago State | 1:00 pm
11/28 | @ IUPUI | 6:00 pm
12/1 | vs. New Mexico | Time TBA
12/4 | @ Little Rock | 6:30 pm
12/15 | vs. Eastern Illinois | 7:00 pm
12/18 | @ Georgia Southern | Time TBA
12/22 | vs. Southeastern Louisiana | 1:00 pm
1/2/19 | vs. Northern Iowa | Time TBA
1/5 | @ Indiana State | Time TBA
1/8 | @ Valparaiso | Time TBA
1/12 | vs. Missouri State | Time TBA
1/16 | vs. Drake | Time TBA
1/20 | @ Southern Illinois | Time TBA
1/23 | vs. Illinois State | Time TBA
1/26 | @ Missouri State | Time TBA
1/30 | @ Evansville | Time TBA
2/2 | vs. Southern Illinois | Time TBA
2/6 | @ Northern Iowa | Time TBA
2/9 | vs. Indiana State | Time TBA
2/13 | vs. Loyola-Chicago | Time TBA
2/16 | @ Illinois State | Time TBA
2/19 | @ Drake | Time TBA
2/23 | vs. Evansville | Time TBA
2/27 | vs. Valparaiso | Time TBA
3/2 | @ Loyola-Chicago | Time TBA

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