Manchester mens basketball photo
Head Coach Nathan Conley believes the team’s best work is ahead of them as they gear up for a new season.
Photo by MU Athletics

Men’s Basketball Returns with Fans Back in PERC After Unusual Season

Sam France

The men’s basketball team has a competitive schedule this season with very talented teams in non-conference play. The Spartans were only able to play 14 games last season, going 4-10, and they are looking to improve this year.

Head Coach Nathan Conley, who is in his third year at Manchester, said that if the team executes each practice and game, they will be able to compete with anyone on the schedule, continuing to get better as the season progresses. They will play a total of 25 regular season games, seven of them being non-conference and mostly at the beginning of the season.

This season won’t be as difficult on collegiate sports as last season due to COVID. “I’m looking forward to our program having the opportunity to compete in front of fans and loud crowds inside basketball arenas again,” Conley said. “We missed having our fans in the PERC last season!”

The team had an encouraging pre-season with highly competitive practices and two scrimmages against programs that will compete for championships in their conference. The best way to prepare the team to play at their highest level, Conley believes, is to compete with teams aspiring to win their conference championships and participate in the NCAA tournament.

The team is one of the youngest in Division III and last season they had six first years playing double digit minutes per game. They are led by two fifth-year seniors, Cortiz Buckner and CJ Hampton. Conley said that they are very experienced in and knowledgeable of college basketball. Further, Conley noted that the sophomore class had a great off season, and the first years are combined with players that will contribute immediately and further into the season. They will continue to work hard and get closer as a team.

“I’m excited about the makeup of our group,” Conley said. “Our best basketball is definitely ahead of us as we continue to work towards improving daily.”

Jessie Morgan Jr. says the team’s greatest strength is that they all have each other’s back and if things go wrong, they will stick together. He also said that they have bonded well despite being mostly younger guys and they are ready to get after it.