The men’s basketball season opened Monday, Nov. 6 and the Pilots are already breaking records. The Beacon sat down with head coach Shantay Legans to preview the season.
The Beacon: What is the team looking forward to this season?
Legans: We’re looking forward to getting better each week. It started out in June with all the guys getting here for summer school and, you know, just trying to put all our hard work in and make sure we're going all in the right direction. I think that's something we've been showing the first two games and we just got to keep getting better because the whole goal is to play in the NCAA Tournament.
The Beacon: What changes has the team made going into the season that we can expect to see?
Legans: We’ll be a better defensive team. We’ll be a better rebounding team. I also think that, you know, we’ll be a better offensive team — I think we'll be able to really move the ball around. I think that we got better athletically. We got better defensively. And so, you know, [those improvements] helped with early season success, with getting some recruits here early, and those recruits are really paying off right now.
The Beacon: What are some matchups you are most excited for and you think fans should be excited for?
Legans: We got a game coming up against the team that beat us last year — UC Riverside — and it's a west coast school. We love playing against the west coast schools as much as possible because that's what we're recruiting against. We want to put our best foot forward because we know a lot of young student athletes are watching us, and so all the west coast schools we're looking forward to playing. Also getting over to Hawaii. I know that's something that [the fans] will be able to watch on ESPN. So we're really excited about our preseason and then the West Coast Conference. That's going to be a lot of fun and we’ll get Gonzaga who’s going to be a top 25 team. St. Mary's will be a top 25 team. San Francisco, who's up and coming, Santa Clara — just the whole WCC looks like it's going to be very good this year.
The Beacon: What players should we be looking out for this season?
Legans: You could really take a look out for Tyler Robertson. You know he’s picked up the Preseason All WCC this year. You got young guys like Juan Sebastian Gorosito and Vukasin Masic who's a sophomore. You got Chris Austin — he's an older guy. There's some guys that we're really excited about seeing play. Freshmen like Tyler Harris, who's been a star so far the first two games. We're looking forward to having older guys teach our younger guys the ropes.
The Beacon: What does the team want Pilot fans to know?
Legans: We want [the fans] to come watch us play. We want to fill up the stands. We want to make sure people are there. We know we have to win to get everybody there, so that's our job. And once we start doing that, we want everybody to show up and support these young men because they really deserve it. They've been working really hard on and off the floor.
You can catch the Pilots men’s basketball team back in action this Wednesday, Nov. 15 at 6 p.m PST as they take on Tennessee State at the Chiles Center.
Maggie Dapp is the sports editor at The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.