Who is tired of hearing, watching and reading everything about Kaboom!?
I know I am.
Rather than another column about whether people do or don’t like our new mascot, I thought I would discuss something we all care about: a winning men’s basketball team, something that not one student at this school has seen.
Graduating seniors leaving this spring have seen three losing seasons, one .500 regular season, an abundance of change in the athletic department and nothing to really cheer about.
If you are a junior, you have seen three straight losing seasons and that same change in the athletic department.
If you are a sophomore, nothing is different for you either. You have seen two straight seasons of just “eh” basketball.
If you are a freshman, you haven’t seen anything yet.
In short, our basketball team hasn’t shown us any sort of excitement in our time at Bradley.
But there’s no reason for it anymore. After this season, it is time to win and be competitive in the MVC, or some people are going to have to answer some very tough questions.
There can’t be any more excuses about our basketball team because we have a new athletic director in Michael Cross, we have hired a “new” coach in Geno Ford, we have a new logo and brand with the “B” shield and, finally, we have a mascot with our favorite gargoyle, Kaboom!
Now as the men’s basketball season is coming to an end (and we will most likely not move past Friday of MVC tournament), we can all agree on the fact that we want something to cheer about.
The answer is not in the idea of firing anyone, especially Ford, who in his own right is trying very hard to bring Bradley men’s basketball back to what it once was. You also can’t judge a new coach based on his first three years, as it takes time to have the team you want and one that you recruit for.
But people question student attendance, and they question whether or not the student body even cares about the team.
Maybe the one thing that will make us care is a winning team.
Or maybe we might not even want a winning team, but we need a winning team because, to put it bluntly, our school’s spirit sucks.
I don’t think I even have a single answer to any of the situations posed above. But I do know that next year, Ford will be in his fourth season as Bradley’s men’s basketball coach. He will also be in the second year of “his team.” Next year’s squad will be the players he recruited and brought in to win.
With key additions of transfer Mike Shaw, junior college transfer Tramique Sutherland and a team that should develop well in the offseason, I have a feeling that come October and November of next season, we may finally have something to cheer about.
But if we see next year’s team have another winless December or doesn’t produce as “expected,” I can almost guarantee Bradley students will not show up. The Peoria community may not show up either, and people will not be happy with the state of basketball on the Hilltop.
For now we can only be optimistic. Hopefully the team will surprise everyone, you never know.
But regardless of the outcome of the upcoming MVC tournament, we need a winning team and we need one now.
Aaron Freeman is a sophomore sports communication major from Wheeling, Illinois.
Questions, comments and concerns can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter @AaronFreem.