First off, disappointed how the season ended. I said in my preview against WT something was going to have to give from one team, and the offensive production and defensive lapses in the first half proved to be too deep a hold to crawl out of. Give full credit to WT, they were ready for the Lions and from the starting tip threw everything they had at the Lions. Again, full credit.
Sam Walker has the Lions in a good position to be elite once again. The LSC is a tough Basketball conference, and the addition of UT-Permian Basin just strengthened the conference all the more, but 2 tournament appearances and an LSC tournament Championship in the past 3 years you feel the Lions are out of slump of the early 2000’s and back to perennial contender status.
The one thing the team has to learn is to finish off an opponent. 4 times this year, you have a Lion squad that beat a team that was ranked and/or very good, only to lose to them the second time around. In order to get back to winning the conference in the regular season, you have to defend your home court, which the Lions did for the most part, but you also have to go on the road and repeat that performance. That is what separates average teams from Championship quality teams.
Of the 17 guys on the roster, 5 seniors leave, so there is not a massive hit to your roster. Of the 17 guys on the team, 10 are transfers from other schools, but 4 of them are in that after mentioned senior class. Having transfers has been a big part of the Lions team the past decade, but the question is, how do you build teams that are 4 year guys but get some guys, like Darrell Williams, who are former DI players that are big time playmakers? Walker has a penchant for finding diamonds in the rough, so this is what will be interesting to see.
Finally, I believe based on what we will see coming back, the Lions are again a 20-23 win team with a strong performance in the conference tournament. I see this team going dancing again by having a strong win resume against good teams and making strides to finish off teams that they should not be losing to.