BINGHAMTON, NY – Binghamton University women’s and men’s basketball teams are equally excited to finally tip off what will be a season unlike any other.
“Regardless of what it looks like, we’re going to have some fun out there,” says BU Head Women’s Basketball Coach Bethann Shapiro Ord.
While Binghamton basketball fans are used to being able to cheer on their Bearcats inside the Events Center, this year, the only way they’ll be able to see them live is through a streaming service.
While no real fans will be allowed in the stands, that isn’t dampening the spirits of both the women’s and men’s teams.
The BU women are coming off the most successful season in their Division I history, winning 22 games and reaching the America East semifinals.
Head coach Bethann Shapiro Ord is as excited to get back on the court as anyone.
“I know you guys can see it in my eyes, but I have like, a grin, you can probably see the corners of my smile. Just, really again, ecstatic for these girls, these players, these young women, that have done so much. And, also, for this community,” says Shapiro Ord.
Players have had to find ways to keep themselves engaged since March, with the uncertainty of having a season at all constantly looming.
Sophomore Guard Denai Bowman, who is anticipated to largely fill a scoring role left behind by reigning America East Player of the Year Kai Moon, says the time away from the team helped her re-focus her game.
“I think it just made me more hungry. It made me just miss the sport even more. But, it’s definitely, it allowed me to work on things that I couldn’t work on during the season. So, I am happy for that opportunity,” says Bowman.
On the men’s side of things, the Bearcats are looking to have a bounce back season after missing the conference tournament for the second time in three years, as well as seeing Sam Sessoms transfer to Penn State.
Despite all that though, the Bearcats have plenty to be excited about this season.
They return reigning Rookie of the Year George Tinsley, as well as All-Rookie Team member Brenton Mills, and they welcome back Thomas Bruce.
Through their practices so far, Tommy Dempsey is seeing a team that is more focused on the “we” instead of the “me”.
“We’ve had individual success along the way. But, I think the team success has been the focus of this group. They’ve really embraced that. I think the chemistry, in all, I mean, I’d like to have more practices and games under our belt. But, for where we are right now, I feel like it’s a very unselfish group,” says BU Head Men’s Basketball Coach Tommy Dempsey.
As mentioned, Thomas Bruce returns after more than a year absence from the team. Bruce brings a complete game to the court, and he and his teammates are fired up for a return to the floor.
“We’re really eager, really eager. You know, it’s been forever, like I said. We’ve been off the court for so long. So, just getting back on, we’re just all ready to go attack,” says BU Senior Forward/Center Thomas Bruce.
Both teams are ready to attack as they open their seasons at home this week, with the women at 4 tomorrow against Fairleigh Dickinson, while the men tip off Saturday at 2 against Marist.