Do or Die Time for Tulane men’s basketball

Mackenna Barker, Online Sports Editor

Straight off the heels of another painful 3-9 season for Tulane’s stagnant football team and an equally grueling volleyball season, Green Wave fans were ready for a more successful winter.

With this year’s men’s basketball team, no one was sure what to expect. The program’s stability appeared bleak following the exodus of seven players last season; however, a wave of seven newcomers, marked by inexperience but promising athleticism, regenerated hope and intrigue.

After last year’s 15-16 (6-12 American Athletic Conference) finish to the men’s basketball squad’s first season in the AAC, fans hoped for progression to at least hit the .500 mark this season.

Unfortunately, it hasn’t been a smooth start for the Wave. With an 8-15 overall record and a 1-9 conference record to secure the Wave a last place spot in the AAC, the squad’s growing pains are agonizingly evident.

The Wave’s current single conference victory was in Tampa over USF (5-18, 2-8 AAC), who stands just above Tulane in conference standings. When the Bulls came to New Orleans two weeks later, the Wave suffered an abysmal 73-60 loss.

The brutal start to conference play doesn’t necessarily point to an incapable program. The team has to grapple with other factors, such as injuries that have sidelined key players such as redshirt junior guard Kajon Mack, redshirt sophomore guard Cameron Reynolds and graduate student forward Jernard Jarreau.

This season is pegged as a rebuilding one. With a whole new cast of players, it’s rare all the pieces fit together nicely right away. There’s a natural adjustment period as the team builds some chemistry and as the squad of freshmen get some experience under their belts.

Even so, the pressure is on right now. The Wave would have to spark some miracle turnaround immediately and win all eight of its remaining games, including against the No. 12 SMU Mustangs, to end the regular season at a mediocre 15-16, 9-9 record.

This squad still has a small window of redemption, with the remainder of the regular season and conference play as an opportunity to put a positive spin on this thus far dreadful season. If Conroy’s crew cannot capitalize on this closing window, there could be more drastic program shifts in the cards for the Wave.

Under the direction of new Athletic Director Troy Dannen, Tulane Athletics has wasted no time replacing the coaches of the programs struggling in the AAC. With the hiring of Dannen and the ensuing hires of Willie Fritz and Jim Barnes as the new head football coach and head volleyball coach respectively, Athletics is demonstrating a newfound commitment to creating winning programs.

If Conroy and company want to keep up with the new direction in which Athletics is heading, this program needs to make serious strides starting now.

This is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

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