South Siders Look For Fast Start

The Maroon men’s basketball team comes into their highly anticipated season as they prepare to face Rose-Hulman and Trinity (Tex.) this coming weekend for the annual Midway Classic.

By Anna Rose

The UChicago men’s basketball team kicks off the 2017–18 season this Saturday, and there is no better way to do it than at home. This year, for the first time, the Maroons will host the Midway Classic, a three-team weekend tournament. The Maroons first take on Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology at 3 p.m. on Saturday, November 18, and then play Texas’s Trinity University at 3 p.m. the following day.

The squad is excited about the home opener on Saturday.

“The team is thrilled that we’re able to host the Midway Classic. The tournament is a very exciting way to start the season,” said fourth-year captain and three-point season record holder Jake Fenlon. 

Second-year forward Sam Sustacek echoed his teammate’s sentiments.

“Starting the season at home is awesome. We’ve been doing a lot of outreach with local schools, and we will be bussing a lot of kids in for the game. Combining that support with our friends and family, we should have a great showing of fans and an excited environment come Saturday,” he said. 

After falling short last year, the Maroons are looking to make a name for themselves and improve their 16–9 record from last season.

“Our primary goal this year is to compete for a UAA championship,” Fenlon said. “This year we are fortunate enough to have multiple guys who can really shoot the ball, but there is a lot of progress to be made in other areas if we want to be successful when conference play starts.”

Putting in work in the off-season and preseason was a priority for the squad, and pushing each other and competing in practice remains critical.

“The team has really been pushing each other in preseason practice,” Sustacek said. “We’re really pumped up about the season, and it shows in how hard we are working on the court to prepare for our first game.”

“This weekend will be a great opportunity for us to get a feel for the progress we’ve made over the past few weeks, as well as what areas we need to focus on moving forward,” Fenlon added. 

Overall, the Maroons are ready to kick off the season and compete. After several weeks of preseason, the Maroons will finally be able to see the payoff of their hard work come Saturday.

“I think we are most excited to see our hard work over the offseason and in preseason translate to a game setting. We should be a really exciting team to watch, and it will be super fun to play with all the guys,” Sustacek said. 

The Maroons play at 3 p.m. this Saturday at their home opener, when they take on the Rose-Hulman Fightin’ Engineers.