This Saturday marks the men’s basketball team’s first game under new head coach Jason Beschta.
Beschta spent the last three years at Oklahoma Wesleyan University, where he led his team to a 62-36 record. While at OKWU, Beschta’s team played JBU twice. As a result, he became familiar with JBU and got to know former head coach Clark Sheehy.
“I had been around campus and knew how amazing the facilities are here” Beschta said. “When the job came open, I put my stuff in for it just because I knew, by reputation, a lot of good things about John Brown.”
Since joining the athletic staff, Beschta has seen this reputation confirmed firsthand. “Since being here, I’ve come to understand all there is to it,” Beschta said. “It’s not just good facilities, a good winning tradition and a Christian university, but there’s just great people here. The students, the professors, the faculty and staff, everybody; we’ve felt right at home from the beginning.”
Adjusting to a new team is also going well. Beschta said that one of the challenges new coaches sometimes face is whether or not a team will buy into a new program.
“We’ve got good leaders,” Beschta said. “We’ve got older guys on the team—some of our best players—and they bought in from the beginning.”
Beschta noted how close this year’s team is: “You never know with a new job if they are going to kind of ask, ‘Why’d I even stay? Maybe I should have gone with the last coach.’ But the guys wanted to stay, in a large part—before they knew I was even coming—because of each other, because they were a close group.”
Going into this season, the team is preparing for a new style of play. “We’ve got some big guys on this team who can get out and run, and we’ve got some depth in those spots too. We think we can use some of our speed and athleticism to go with the size and do what we would say is pressure offense. We’re going to push the game hard every possession,” said Beschta.
To prepare for this style of play, the team has worked hard to be at a high level of conditioning and athleticism. Beschta also said that making good decisions is going to be extremely important, especially when the fast pace brings on fatigue.
“These things don’t just happen,” Beschta said. “We talk about luck and that kind of thing. Well, luck tends to favor the most prepared and those who work the hardest for a reason.”
Beschta said he was excited for this season, specifically to play in front of fans who care about basketball. He is also looking forward to the TP Game and the Sooner Athletic Conference, widely accepted as one of the top conferences in the country. “It’s going to be a tough league where there just aren’t any nights off,” Beschta noted.
In the midst of all this, Beschta said he was most excited for the process. “That’s what, as a coaching staff, we talk about a lot with our guys. Our goal isn’t to be our best for the TP game but to be our best at the end of the season, when it really matters. I think this is a team that is just going to keep getting better and better all year long.”