Men’s basketball gears up for important season

Henry Diamond, Staff Writer

Courtesy of Parker Waters

Tulane basketball is back.

After a great season last year, where Tulane Men’s Basketball notably defied expectations by finishing fifth in the American Athletic Conference, the program has capitalized on their success with a great offseason. With coach Ron Hunter, who is entering his fourth season, Tulane has been able to bring back star talent, add transfers and continue to solidify a strong culture. 

This 2022-23 season, there is major optimism surrounding the Tulane team. 

Tulane has been able to bring back almost all their key players from last season. Most notably, Jaylen Forbes and Jalen Cook, the two leading scorers for Tulane last season, are coming back for their respective junior and sophomore seasons. Returning with them is the big man Kevin Cross, who led the team in rebounds last season, and guard Sion James, a lockdown defender

On top of these returns, Tulane was also able to bring in junior guard Brailee Albert, a transfer from Vanderbilt. After seasons of being the underdog, this Tulane team — which was once a young group — has now transformed into a veteran squad that has experience playing together. The benefit? Coach Ron Hunter described it perfectly saying, “we’re talented enough and experienced enough where we don’t have to play the perfect game to win.” 

For coach Ron Hunter, the expectations for this team are clear: to win their division and reach the NCAA tournament

Freshman guard Jake Shapiro discussed acclimating to a Tulane team that has been together a long time now. “It was pretty seamless. I mean, the guys did a great job of welcoming me … We all gelled together really nicely, and we had a big summer trip to Costa Rica, which was just awesome team bonding. We got a few wins there. So once together, by this point of the season, we’re really gluing and gelling as a group,” he said. 

Going further, Shapiro praised head coach Hunter for his role in getting the team ready for the season saying, “He’s very, very helpful. He has a very unique, fun style of coaching. And he has a defense that’s pretty hard to learn honestly at first. But they do. He does a really good job of breaking it down position by position and also every day in practice, we spend a lot of time on it. And he has a great support staff of assisting coaches spearheaded by Claude Pardue. And he does a great job of showing us where we need to be, every practice, how we need to do it. So I feel like by now we all have a good understanding.” 

Coming up next, Tulane is set to scrimmage against Ron Hunter’s old program Georgia State on Saturday, Nov. 5, and then they play the Maryland-Baltimore County Retrievers for their first game of the season Monday, Nov. 7. 

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