Basketball season is returning at last to Chase Gymnasium. This year, as head coach Dave Holmquist enters his 38th season as men’s basketball coach, the Eagles officially begin their tenure as a member of the PacWest Conference of NCAA Division II.
INCREASED MOTIVATION AND RESPONSIBILITY
Due to an NCAA rule, Biola cannot compete in the NCAA’s postseason for the first two years of their membership in DII, but that will not stop the Eagles from playing as if they could.
“I think that there’s probably some people that doubt us because we’re moving up and we’re maybe a little down this year, but overall I think we can compete really well this year,” said junior guard Trevor Treinen. “So I think if everybody believes in that on the team then we’ll be just fine.”
Biola enters this season riding the momentum of a second-place regular season finish in the Golden State Athletic Conference last season with an overall record of 26-6, falling just short of the first-place Hope International Royals.
This season features a large personnel shift, as the Eagles graduated four seniors last year who saw large amounts of minutes. The loss of forward Caelan Tiongson and National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics All-American guard Dakari Archer will require particular attention, as those players finished 10th and fourth in GSAC, respectively, in points per game.
“With guys leaving, it gives a lot more responsibility to other guys to step up,” said senior forward Alex Talma. “Me, [junior forward] Levi [Auble], Trevor, and [senior guard] Blake [Shannon Jr.] are the [upperclassmen] guys on the team now. With us four guys, we’ve got a good core group who have been here and learned from Dakari and all those other senior guys that have left now, so we’ve got more responsibility and just got to step up.”
NEW ADDITIONS, SAME STYLE
Seven new faces will boost the team, each looking to contribute to Biola’s run in the Pacwest. The team understands the new difficulties of playing at the DII level, but have also set goals for how they can best compete.
“Just like a little goal of out-rebounding teams and playing better defense than the guys we go up against, those are just like our individual goals game-by-game,” Talma said.
Rebounding and defense have historically been strong points of teams under coach Holmquist. The Eagles allowed the least points scored against them in GSAC last season and took second-place in rebounding margin in the conference, out-rebounding opponents by plus 10.9.
For sake of comparison, the Hawaii Pacific Sharks had the best rebounding margin in the PacWest last year at plus 8.9. If Biola can keep up numbers like they had last year, the Eagles could have some distinct advantages this upcoming season.
The Eagles’ new era officially starts on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. when they head to San Marcos, Calif. to face the Cal State San Marcos Cougars as part of the California Collegiate Athletic Association PacWest Challenge.