Morehead State University Basketball hosts media day following OVC preseason pick results
The Morehead State University basketball teams held their annual media day Monday, October 23 at Jayne Stadium on the campus of MSU. Coaches said both teams are looking forward to an exciting season.
The men’s and women’s teams are each sporting six returning players on their rosters. Officials and players alike said that’s significant considering the ease with which student athletes can switch schools through the NCAA Transfer Portal. MSU Athletics Director Kelley Wells said it comes down to a family-like culture.
“And it has to be that. If it’s not that, then you do have those transitions, you have people leaving and coming. They’ve done a great job of manufacturing great players, but also keeping them here and developing a great culture,” said Wells.
One of the returning men’s players is senior guard Mark Freeman, who was named Ohio Valley Conference Preseason Player of the Year last week. Freeman was also named 2022-23 OVC Player of the Year at the end of last season. However, it was announced on Monday that an injury is taking Freeman out of play for an undetermined amount of time.
Teammate Drew Thelwell told reporters losing Freeman won’t change their offensive strategy.
“We still have five guys on the court that can all do the same stuff. I mean, Mark going down does hurt a little bit. At the end of the shot clock, we can’t just give him the ball and say, ‘go get one for us,’ but it just again goes back to the trust, you know. We just gotta trust each other that we’re going to make the right plays and right decisions when we’re out there. And defensively, it’s kind of the same thing, we all have to guard our man, one-on-one,” said Thelwell.
OVC head men’s basketball coaches and communication directors also voted the MSU men’s team preseason favorites. Coach Preston Spradlin said not only will the Eagles be one of the oldest in the conference with a total of eight seniors, they’re also one of the bigger teams.
“Every player that we added this year is bigger than the guys that we lost at their position last year. And so, we’ll be able to play a little bit faster than what we had been able to do in the past with the versatility of our bigs. We’ll be able to post our four men a little bit. But we’re not going to sacrifice any of the skill and versatility and speed and shooting that we’ve had,” said Spradlin.
The head coach said with 15 players, the team is two deep at each position.
On the other end of the spectrum, the MSU women’s basketball team was voted ninth in the list of OVC preseason favorites. Head coach Cayla Petree said it’s a great opportunity to prove people wrong.
“That’s how I approach every day. We’re just going to go to work and we’re going to treat people right, we’re going to work harder, and the most important thing is, we’re going to have fun. I think our girls really love playing basketball and if you love what you do, working hard is easy,” said Petree.
There are 16 players on the women’s team this season. Among them is guard Veronica Charles, who is returning to the MSU Eagles as the lone senior. Petree said Charles is the second-leading returning scorer in the league and was named defensive player of the year.
The MSU men’s basketball team plays their first game of the season at Alabama on November 6 at 8 p.m. Their first home game is November 8 against Shawnee State. The women’s basketball team plays their first game at Illinois on November 7 at 7 p.m. Their first home game is November 9 against Wilberforce.