The team poses with Hunter who was at practice today. He’s a cool kid!
Meeting up with team sponsors, Dave and Sandy from The Bank of Missouri
Finally it’s here, we made it to Branson and the national tournament! The guys had a ton of energy and couldn’t wait to leave. We met for practice Sunday night and then loaded up the bus around 9PM to make our way south. We made it a whole 30 minutes before stopping to eat in Hudsonville (eating, a common theme on this trip). After we ate we started the trip.
We drove through the night and made it to Branson right around 9AM where we were met by the tournaments best sponsors, Dave and Sandy from The Bank of Missouri. We have a long standing relationship with Dave and Sandy and are so grateful to have the opportunity to have them sponsor us again.
After saying our hellos and making some new introductions to Dave and Sandy we went to breakfast. At breakfast we spent time catching up with Dave and Sandy and of course stuffing our faces! After we ate we went back to the hotel for some much needed rest before heading out to practice.
At 3:30PM we loaded up the bus and headed to College of the Ozarks to practice in the auxiliary gym. Practice was good the guys had a lot of energy and focus. We are still working on ourselves trying to get better and be the best we can be.
After practice we walked down the hall to check out the main gym. It was cool to see the guys walk in, especially the new guys. For me personally it brought back a rush of memories from the last time I was here; the plays that were made, the games we won, and cutting the nets down. It’s exciting to think about the memories these guys have the opportunity to create this week.
Can’t wait to begin!
Asst. Coach Dominic Allen
Coach Elders watches the team practice as they prepare for 1st round opponent, Northwest Christian.
The team meeting up with team sponsors David and Sandy from The Bank of Missouri. Feels great to be back in Branson!
Asst. Coach Ted Albert was a senior on the 2011 National Championship team and an assistant coach the last three seasons.
It’s always an honor to make the national tournament, especially when we are fortunate enough to receive a top 5 seed. The excitement of this achievement is always accepted with open arms, as it was again this postseason by our guys. It’s not only special because of the group of guys we have, but also because of the people we are afforded the opportunity to share it with.
Our 1st round opponent is Northwest Christian University
from the west coast in Oregon. This is their first trip to the national tournament, but we will not overlook them. They are coached by head coach Luke Jackson, who was an all-American at the University of Oregon. Coach Jackson played nearly five years in the NBA after being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers. So to put it mildly, they have serious basketball leadership in their new program.
The majority of their minutes are divided among their top five guys, but they have capable fire power off the bench as well. They also have two transfers from head coach Luke Jackson’s alma mater University of Oregon. Their top 3 scorers average 17, 17 and 16 PPG. They are big inside and pose a large threat on the offensive glass.
Although Northwest Christian will be a tough task for us, it is most important to remember what actually propelled us to where we are. We shouldn’t necessarily focus on our opponent so intently that we forget what we do well. Sticking to our overall game plan and strategies will be a big key for us to achieve our ultimate goal. Although it is an honor to make the National Tournament, we only have one goal in mind, to win the 2014 NAIA National Championship!
– Asst. Coach Ted Albert
Seniors Wes Hudson, Anthony Allen, and Jake Plite share about their experience over the past four years playing for Coach Elders.
Hudson, Allen, and Plite, the team’s senior starters, share their thoughts on returning to Branson.