Opinion: Success is on the horizon for Green Wave

Dante Vargas-Hall, Sports Reporter

The Wave’s basketball team entered the American Athletic Conference tournament March 12 ready to soar. Its first round matchup was Houston, a team that had lost lost 14 of its previous 19 games. Tulane, however, suffered a season-ending 66-60 defeat to end its season.   

The loss clinched Tulane’s fourth non-winning season in the past five years. To make matters worse, next season the Wave, a team that lived and died by the three, is graduating its best sharp-shooter, guard Jay Hook. Yet, I believe Tulane may be poised to have its best season next year in recent history. 

Head coach Ed Conroy has been afforded the greatest privilege that a coach could ask for when building a program: time. Conroy, who is entering his fifth season as head coach at Tulane, is confident in the foundation that he has laid and it appears as if it is only a matter of time before Tulane is delivering blows rather than taking them in the AAC. 

“It does take time to build it the right way but there is no question that we are on the right path,” Conroy said. “I just see that momentum continuing each year and we’re getting better and better.”

Since the 2011-12 campaign, in which Tulane finished last in Conference USA, the Green Wave has steadily improved over the years, its success culminating in a mid-standing finish this past year. While it is a seemingly average feat, one must remember that the AAC is, by far, a more competitive conference. 

In its inaugural year in the conference, it was apparent that Tulane just didn’t have the size to compete with the big boys last season. The Wave, however, still finished No. 7 out of eleven teams overall in the conference this year. Even better, Conroy has addressed the team’s weaknesses and wasted no time recruiting three physical, large players that will help lock down the paint for the Wave. 

“One thing that everyone had in this league was the ability to protect and defend around the rim,” Conroy said. “I think that will be the biggest impact that this [recruiting] class will have. They are just bigger, stronger bodies and they have the ability to help defend in the paint.”

With Tulane’s new wealth of big men, it’ll be interesting to see if they can finally establish a consistent, low-post scoring threat. If so, this newfound inside-out game would give the bona-fide backcourt of rising junior guard Jonathan Stark and rising senior Louis Dabney more room to create opportunities to score for themselves and others.  

As for replacing Jay Hooks’ outside shooting, Conroy has bestowed that responsibility upon a couple of underclassmen.  

“Transfer rising junior guard Malik Morgan and rising junior guard Cameron Reynolds [will have that role],” Conroy said. “I think are ready to step in and take the shooting perimeter-scoring load off.”

It’s evident that Tulane has all the pieces in place to be highly competitive for years to come. While the NCAA championships and the light of success may not shine upon us next season, there is light on the horizon.

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