Men’s basketball gears up for season as defending champs


Gabrielle Korein

Loyola senior Michael Harden faces off against his fellow teammate at a team scrimmage on Sept. 28. The men’s basketball team is set to play their first game of the season on Oct. 28.

Matthew Richards, Asst Sports

The Loyola men’s basketball team will begin their 2022-2023 season with a title that Loyola hasn’t had since 1945; the players enter the season as defending National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national champions.
Head Coach Donald Reyes said that as he and his players gear up for this year’s season, he is ready to anticipate that teams will be looking out for Loyola, although he said the team has changed significantly, having lost ten players, including the NAIA’s national player of the year, Zach Wrightsil.
“We understand that we’re going to get the opposing team’s best shot each night,” Reyes said. “So we are really trying to focus on the small stuff and take every practice, weight session, as a chance to meet the high standards we hold ourselves to in this program.”
This year’s team boasts a new head coach in New Orleans native Reyes and returns 10 players from last year’s team along with 10 new arrivals.
“It feels really good to have some fresh blood injected into the program,” said senior forward Jalen Galloway. “With the ten new guys we brought in to replace the ten we lost, along with the arrival of a new coach, especially one from New Orleans, it’s really exciting.”
Reyes said he learned while playing basketball at Tulane an uptempo style, and he looks to bring a lot of NBA concepts into his coaching.
“I want us to play tough, hard-nosed defense, and really get after our opponents,” Reyes said.
Reyes added that the team is looking to blend the new energy with the returning experience in order to repeat last year as both the Southern States Athletic Conference and national champions of the league.
“We really want to find a balance between the newer guys and the more experienced ones,” said senior guard Josh Tolbert. “And hopefully, by doing that, we can achieve a lot of success.”
The season begins Friday, Oct. 28 at the University Sports Complex, where the Wolf Pack will play against Clinton College at 7 p.m.