Head Men's Basketball Coach – Pratt Cannoneers
One season is in the books now at Wesleyan and though we played our last game over a month ago, I wanted to take an appropriate amount of time to fully digest the season before I gave my thoughts. While this post can in no way comprehensively cover the entirety of my thoughts/feelings/takeaways from the season, I thought it was important to write about this year — after I was able to take some time and make sure I was in a detached, unemotional state.
First things first: this season was a lot of fun. Coach Reilly is amazing to work for, the guys are so much fun to coach and be around and Wesleyan is really an amazing place with an incredible amount of support.
At the end of the day every single one of us here on campus in Middletown was hoping to be playing way further into March, repeating as NESCAC champions and making a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. But unfortunately it doesn’t always go your way.
We finished our season 18-7, which for me is a personal career high. It was also tied for the third highest win total in a single season in program history. On top of that, we went 3-1 against Little 3 rivals Amherst College and Williams College, bringing home a piece of the men’s basketball Little 3 championship to Wesleyan for the first time in a long time.
The Little 3 games could not have been any more intense – or odd in hindsight. After dropping a disappointing 64-40 game at Amherst on Friday, January 15, we rallied to beat Amherst just three days later by a final margin of 71-44! Then both Williams games came down to a final shot – both which happened to tickle the twine off the seemingly magical hands of senior guard BJ Davis.
We beat a pair of nationally ranked teams (#9 Amherst on January 18 and #22 Tufts on January 22). We ran off an 11 game win streak during the first half of the season and then a six game win streak smack in the middle of conference play (including 5 wins over NESCAC schools). We graduated four seniors – Joe Edmonds (school record 9 3-pointers in a game), Jack Mackey (school record 72 three-pointers in a single season), Rashid Epps (19 career double-doubles) and Davis (2nd team All – NESCAC).
We have a few talented young men that are joining us next year that we are very excited to have wearing the red and black. And we have 12 returners that all bring something incredibly special to this program – ranging from their immense potential for on-court contribution, to their unbelievable success garnering prestigious internships, jobs and relationships off the court.
Certainly things felt a lot better when we were ranked #20 in the country and sitting at 18-4, but sometimes things go up and down and the final three games of the season happened to be challenging conference road games that fell in the loss column. Regardless of being left on the outside looking in when the selection committee announced the NCAA Tournament participants, 2015-16 was an incredibly successful and fulfilling season for both myself and the Wesleyan Cardinals.
I’m looking forward to finishing the spring and summer and fall with recruiting and all the other responsibilities of a NESCAC assistant coach. But having said that, I’d fast forward to getting after it in the gym on November 1 in a heartbeat.