My first post since coming back to the blog has to do with a group of Ladies that I did watch the entire season and the incredible improvements they have made with a new head coach, a new system and a new outlook on Women’s Basketball program. Here are 5 thoughts on the season and what to expect.
- First off, I believe the Lions absolutely should have gone to the NCAA Division II tournament. Just look at their body of work. 20-9 overall record, 14-6 in conference play, wins against teams like Angelo State and West Texas A&M, a tough out of conference schedule, and overall third place finish in the standings. This is a team that should be dancing and I totally disagree with the pundits who said this crew should stay at home. No way.
- Jason Burton has proven to be another home run hire since 2013 when this new crop of coaches came to Commerce. Burton is not only a student of the game, he is a fantastic teacher. The way he runs practices from what I have observed is more that he is teaching his team how to play in his system. He also stresses fundamentals such as good shooting, crisp passing, and good decision making. Since he has arrived, Burton has amassed a record of 48-36, a huge improvement from the previous 4 years. Burton also runs his program about as well as one can ask. His hire has been and will continue to be a great investment.
- This team is young, and will be back next year. The team loses only 4 seniors to graduation and a lot of the core players return. The experience many of them have had over the past 3 seasons is what will make next year a time to certainly look forward to.
- The type of player that Burton is recruiting also has played a huge part in the revival of the program. Gone are the days of just plucking JUCO players and hoping for the best. He is recruiting good high school players from perennial power programs all across Texas and other states. He has formed relationships with Girl’s Coaches that will bring to fruition a program unlike what Commerce has seen since the Denny Downing days.
- My prediction for next year is somewhat bold, but I am predicting 23 regular season wins, a top 3 finish in the overall conference standings, and a bid to the NCAA Division II tournament. The one thing I saw that was somewhat deficient in this group is their penchant for losing to teams that they have no business losing to, and there are 3 teams that the Women beat this year handily that they lost to a second go around. I believe that next year this will not be a problem. Building programs to be successful takes time, and it won’t be long before we see the Women competing year in and year out for championships.