Athletics at Hendrix have a glow about them. Positivity oozes from any Warriors player or coach. Basketball is no exception. Despite a challenging year so far, the Warriors remain committed to success and having a good time while achieving it.
Both the Men’s and Women’s teams have had an up and down year, with the Men’s team being second in conference play with a record of 8-9, only one game behind first. While that isn’t a dazzling record at first glance, the SAA is notorious for tight competition in basketball.
“I am very pleased with where we are right now,” Head Coach Thad McCracken said. “Granted, there have been some close games that we simply haven’t finished the way we would have hoped, but our group has learned from these experiences and continues to move forward in a positive direction.”
A huge part of the Mens team’s gritty success has been the scoring of sophomore Preston Smith.
“I work as hard as I can everyday to help my team succeed,” Smith said. ” I want to be the best possible teammate I can be to all of the other guys around me. I hold myself accountable of having a strong work ethic and being a good teammate.”
His hard work has translated to a steady stream of scoring, especially from 3-point range.
The Women’s team also sits in prime position as long as they finish strong in conference play. At 9-9, they have been bolstered by the amazing play of junior center Sara Dyslin, who has averaged 20 point and 15 rebounds per game over the last month. Head Coach Drew Gaeng looks to lead them on a win streak here late in the season.
There’s more to the story for these teams than the numbers can tell. They have perhaps the most demanding in-season schedule of any of Hendrix’s teams.
“Being a student athlete is very difficult and definitely takes time adjusting to. The biggest thing I had to learn was time management in my schedule, especially at a school like Hendrix where it is so strong academically,” Smith said. “I have to take care of my business in the classroom first and foremost before taking care of my business on the court.”
This academics-first attitude also influences the coaches.
“I try to approach coaching more from a teaching perspective,” McCracken said. “While the guys in our program have been playing basketball for a long time, there is always something new to learn or things to change. I enjoy the practices much more than I do the games and with the current group of players we have, they make my job easy by showing up ready to work and with a great attitude.”
With so much positivity surrounding the programs, it should be fun to watch how this season comes to a close.
Photo by Aditya Katke