Established 1826 — Oldest College Newspaper West of the Alleghenies

‘Just as good of a shot as anybody’: A recap of the RedHawks men's basketball season so far

Miami is looking to finish strong and make a run for the MAC tournament
Miami is looking to finish strong and make a run for the MAC tournament

The college basketball season is about three quarters of the way through, and the Miami University RedHawks have shown plenty of signs of promise. Sitting in sixth place in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) with a 11-13 overall record (5-6 in the MAC), the RedHawks are looking to prove themselves and make a run in the MAC tournament.

The season started out rough with two early losses to the University of Evansville and Texas State University. The RedHawks bounced back by winning four of the next five games, including winning the Miami Classic

After another three game skid with losses to Ohio State University, Davidson College and Wright State University, the RedHawks won seven of their next 11 games, including another three game skid.

One of the greatest strengths of the team is their collaboration with the ball, assistant coach Carl Richburg said.

“We are probably one of the more unselfish teams in the conference, and that’s our greatest strength,” Richburg said. “Our ability to play off each other, our ability to pass to one another, make open shots and open reads. We are not a selfish team.”

The team has also shown major improvements on the defensive end. Richburg said the team struggled with defense at the start of the season, but the mindset has changed since then, and the team’s offense has improved along with its defense.

Leading the team in points is senior guard Darweshi Hunter, with 12.5 points per game. Leading in rebounds is senior forward Bryce Bultman, while the assists leader is first-year guard Mekhi Cooper, who also leads in steals. On defense, sophomore forward Jacquel Morris is leading the team in blocks per game.

Richburg has seen major improvements from the team as the season has gone on.

“You can see the improvement both individually and as a team,” Richburg said. “Guys are way more connected now, and it's a good feeling when guys are connected like that and playing for one another. Then, the opportunities are endless, and so the longer we play together, the longer we play for each other, the better we will be.”

Photo by Jake Ruffer | The Miami Student
Miami has shown strong improvements throughout the season

Richburg said the best collegiate basketball teams tend to continue their upward trajectory into March, something that the RedHawks are trying to achieve. 

Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter

“We don’t want to be one of those teams that falls off,” Richburg said. “We just want to keep getting better, and so far we have done that. Hopefully we can keep this mindset and consistency going, and I think we have just as good of a shot as anybody to win the conference.”

A major part of the RedHawks’ core is their young guys. Nine of the 15 players are underclassmen, with seven of them being freshmen. With such a young team, it was important to overcome the learning curve and grow together.

For first-year Reece Potter, his first season at Miami has been very enjoyable.

“Coming in as a freshman, I was kind of nervous, but it’s been amazing,” Potter said. “The seniors and older guys on the team have taken us in, so it has been really easy going.”

While the season has gone well for Potter, the physicality of the college game has taken time to get used to.

“You’re going against grown men every night,” Potter said. “So that physicality has definitely been the hardest part. 

With such a young team, the underclassmen buying in was going to be a major part of the RedHawks’ success. Bultman said that as captain he’s been able to set the tone for practice and encourage the team to work hard every day.

The RedHawks will continue their season against the Ball State Cardinals this Saturday at Millet. Though the team has hit another rough patch, with some of its wins being against the better teams in the conference, it is not too far-fetched to think that this team has a decent chance to go dancing in March.