Sadly, the TAMUC Women’s Basketball season is over. Narrowly missing the tournament for the second straight year is a bit of a bummer, but there is a lot to be proud of and look forward to.
- First, in any organization, it starts at the top, and Jason Burton has done a fantastic job since he arrived in Commerce. I have said that other than Colby Carthel, Burton might be the best hire and most important hire the athletic department made since the new era of Lion athletics started circa 2013. In 4 seasons, Burton has taken a program that was a total train wreck and taught them how to win again. 14-14 his first year has been follow up by a 16-13 season his second year. The past two years, Burton’s squads have posted a 38-21 record. Here is hoping that Burton is here to stay for a while, because if he does, expect LSC titles and Division II tournament appearances.
- Of the 14 players on the roster, the Lions lose only 4 to graduation. Now, those losses are key, as Artejah Gay and Brianna Wise were two of the best players in the entire conference, but Jason Burton knows how to recruit and replace. 10 players return from a team that was so very close to winning the Lone Star conference. Should give reason for big hopes in the coming years.
- Most sports at TAMUC that have been resurrected all had a lot of success or had been stories programs with great levels of success. Women’s Basketball is an exception to that rule. To date, there has only been one team that has won the Conference, and that team went to the NCAA Elite 8. This is a prime time for a tradition of excellence to be established, and all the pieces are in place to do just that.
- Aside from being a great coach, Jason Burton is also a fantastic recruiter. He already has a winning program, and high school players want to play for a winning program. There is a difference in how Women and Men need to be coached in the game of Basketball. It is an irony because the game is the same regardless of gender. To be successful in Basketball skills like rebounding, shooting, dribbling, passing, and developing game acumen are universal. That being said, Burton’s connection to the Dallas area and the surrounding area is critical in bringing in quality players that are best in class, but Burton is a best in class coach, so who he brings in next year from the High Schools and JUCO ranks will be interesting to see.
- The mantra of Lion Athletics is “Best In Class” and AD Tim McMurray has done just about everything imaginable to create and foster that atmosphere. There is a real chance here to completely recreate Lion Women’s Basketball to be a winning program. The culture that McMurray and Burton have created with this program has been nothing short of fantastic, but I wonder if/when the new events center/arena is built, will that really bring a hard and fast crop of great Women players to Commerce? I believe it will. Basketball players want to win. They want to look good doing it, and that want to do it in a place where they can say they laid the groundwork for future teams.