Kingsmen Basketball Prepares for Upcoming Season

Danielle Bonavito, Reporter

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As the Kingsmen basketball team at California Lutheran University kicks off its 2019-20 season, it is joined by new Head Coach Russell White and 10 new first-year players.

White said the players are learning to work together and that he is adjusting to the program.

“It appears that the guys get along really well. I think we’re still in a get-to-know each other phase,” White said.

White said for this season, he looks forward to the process of getting better as a team and improving a little each day. He said the main goal for this season does not revolve around result-oriented goals such as wins and losses, but rather on improving throughout the season.

“I hope that if someone came to a game in November and came to a game in February, they would see a better team in February than they did in November. We definitely want to get better,” White said.

White was most looking forward to the first game of the season on Nov. 8 against California Baptist University. The Kingsmen ended up losing 112-56.

“The first game I coach[ed] will be the first game I coach for my alma mater. That will be real special for me,” White said.

Senior guard Palmer Chaplin is now in his final year on the team. Chaplin said many things have changed this season with the addition of White and the new group of first-year players on the team.

“Because we have a new coach this season, basically everyone is a freshman,” Chaplin said.

Chaplin said there is a lot of inexperience that comes with changes in the program.

“The season is a fresh start for everyone, and an opportunity for us to start over and build something from the ground up,” Chaplin said.

Last season, the Kingsmen had a 7-18 record. The upcoming season will be about starting team relationships and adjusting to the program, White said.

“It’s super fun learning about the new guys on the team on and off the court. Coach White emphasized it’s not about winning games, it’s about leaving Cal Lutheran with a good experience,” Chaplin said.

Chaplin said the team is encouraged by White to build strong relationships in order to have a good experience and genuine team cohesion.

“It’s my last year, so I’m kind of trying to realize I’m in the good old days before I [leave] them. So obviously I want to try and win as many games as I can, but personally it’s just about having a good experience that will last a lifetime,” Chaplin said.

Chaplin said he hopes some of his teammates will be at his wedding one day, and he really cares about the relationships he has built while playing basketball at Cal Lutheran.

Junior guard Cole Thomas has been on the team for three years and said he is looking forward to having a new coach this year taking on the challenges to come.

“It’s really hard when you have a new team because everybody has a new playing style and different expectations,” Thomas said.

Thomas said the teams’ biggest strength for this season is how hard they have been working.

“A lot of people tend to get discouraged with all of the new changes that have happened, but what I have seen from our guys is that we don’t let things get us down too much,” Thomas said.