Basketball prepares for new conference

Photo courtesy of Leila De La Cruz

The Sam Houston basketball teams will be kicking off their season this week and will be the most recent team to begin their new conference career in the Western Athletic Conference (WAC).

While the move will benefit the Bearkats, they will have some pieces to fill on both teams as both programs lost some of their top players.

The men’s basketball team lost starting guard Zach Nutall who was the Southland Conference Player of the Year in the 2020-2021 season, as well as an All-Southland Conference first-team selection in the 2019-2020 season. Nutall played in and started 27 games last season, including scoring 36 points in a game against Southern Methodist University, now his current school.

On the other hand, the women’s basketball team lost junior forward Amber Leggett who also won SLC player of the year and was an All-SLC first team selection.

On the men’s side of things, they will be looking for players such as junior forward Javion May to step up and help fill the hole left by Nutall. In his first season with the Bearkats, May played in 27 games, starting in 24 of them and playing a solid number of minutes throughout. 

On the women’s team, senior guard Faith Cook will be the scoring anchor going forward for the Bearkats. A season ago, Cook was an All-SLC third team selection named to the All-Tournament team at the Southland Tournament after reaching double figures in all three games.

The men’s basketball team has been picked to finish seventh in the WAC polls. With that selection came senior guard Demarkus Lampley being chosen for the first team All-WAC preseason team. Lampley was a first-team All-SLC Conference selection last season and was named to the NABC Division 1 All-District 22 second team.

The Bearkats men’s team will be facing a set of new power teams where they are set to host 16 road games and 13 home games this upcoming season, while the women’s team are set to host 16 road games and 15 home games.

The season opener is just around the corner starting Nov. 10 with the men’s team taking on LeTourneau University followed by the women’s team hosting Wiley College University the following day.

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