The John Brown Golden Eagles have begun the 2012-2013 season with a three game winning streak and are No.17 nationally.
Head Coach Clark Sheehy said while the team has three victories already, they did not play well in the first half of either game. He also said they need to work on their defensive presence.
Sophomore Jared Johnson, an important part of the Eagle’s defensive efforts, tore his ACL and will be out for the rest of the season.
“Others will need to step up and play a bigger role,” said Sheehy about how the team is playing without the big man.
JBU allowed Hillsdale Baptist to shoot 50 percent in the first half of the TP game though they managed to hold them at 20 percent in the second half.
Sheehy said this year’s recruits will be instrumental in reaching the team’s goals.
Freshman Kent High, the leading scorer against Hillsdale Baptist (Okla.), and fellow freshman Collin Hart, the leading scorer against Central Baptist (Ark.), are two of this year’s seven new players. Sheehy described this year’s recruits as a very diverse group, which brings a lot of potential and have already been performing well in the off-season.
“They are still trying to get used to how we play,” said Sheehy.
He continued by stating the performances from this year’s seniors Abel Galliguez, Coleson Rakestraw and E.J. McWoods is necessary.
“We need their experience and toughness, especially for the new guys,” said Sheehy.
Sheehy said the team will also be looking to sophomore Max Hopfartner, JBU’s overall leading scorer. He also leads in rebounds and blocks.
The preseason will be nothing compared to the level of competition the Golden Eagles will face once conference play begins in January.
Oklahoma Baptist is No.2 in the NAIA while Rogers State (Ark.), is No. 5. The University of Science and Arts of Oklaohoma is looking to be a competitive team as well this season and have a solid win over a NCAA school under their belt.
“We are probably the best league in the country,” said Sheehy. “In the past few years five national championship teams and four runner-ups have come out of our conference.”
The Golden Eagles will play their next game tonight against Bacone (Okla.) in the Bill George Arena at 7 p.m.