Before this season, the Bradley club basketball team never had the chance to host a home crowd. For years, they spent a great amount of time and money traveling across the Midwest to play their games.
Senior club basketball president Jordan Jarrett decided it was time for a change. He wanted to make it easier for his team to travel to different places and while making it more “economically feasible” for his players.
The league that the club team will be joining is called the National Club Basketball Association, which consists of more than 50 teams nationwide. Bradley will be a part of the Mid-American Conference along with 10 other teams that will be placed into two divisions. Some of the teams that will be included in the Mid-American Conference will be Creighton, Iowa State, Southern Illinois and Western Illinois.
“This one guy has been reaching out to us for a couple years and we’ve [delayed] joining since it was still a work in progress,” Jarrett said. “But now that they have a lot more stability to it, it became a no-brainer for us to join. It’s an easier way for us to get games instead of having to find only two tournaments that were a month or two apart from each other.”
As the team adjusts to the new system, senior Josh Glaum said he is excited for the new opportunity and expects games to have more meaning than they did in the past.
“For club in the fall, we used to play tournaments that, if we didn’t win, wouldn’t mean anything,” Glaum said. “Now, every conference game that we play will have a direct effect on where we place. Basically, every game we play means something from here on out and it makes the competitive levels a lot higher, which is what we as a team are looking forward to the most.”
One novel aspect about joining the league is the opportunity for the club team to have home games. They are guaranteed at least three home series, which means they will play nine games at either the Markin Center or the Renaissance Coliseum.
“We’re excited for the chance to play home games in front of the student population,” Jarrett said. “We want to bring recognition to not only the club basketball team, but club sports as a whole because there’s plenty of organizations on campus that I feel like students should have the opportunity to see something different than they’re used to.”
With all of this in mind, Jarrett said he is trying to come up with ways to get as many students and fans as he can to see the club team make a run at a conference championship.
“What I was hoping to do is get our games out onto the Hilltop Happenings page,” Jarrett said. “Plus, I think a great thing about our team is that it’s so diverse. We have a lot of kids who are involved with different activities around campus. So I feel like we can hit every type of demographic to try and get fans out to our games.”
The club basketball team will begin their conference season the weekend of November 4 when Creighton comes to Peoria.