WILSON, N.C. (WNCN) – Veteran Barton College head basketball coach Ron Lievense makes his point at practice. It’s something his players will see and hear more this season.
“We’re going to be really young, really inexperienced but we have a lot of energy and enthusiasm,” said Lievense.
The Bulldogs top two scorers from a year ago transferred taking plenty of firepower with them. In fact, Barton will be missing 60 of the teams’ 77 points per game from a season ago.
“This is now my 26th season and we’ve had ups and downs throughout the time,” Lievense admitted. “But we’ve never had quite this much turnover.”
With turnover comes opportunity. Who will step up and fill the scoring void? The Bulldogs have plenty of options but will those young players be up to the challenge?
“We’ve got a lot of good guys they just haven’t had the opportunity, argued guard Trevon Spencer. “Everybody’s going to get the opportunity to show what they can do and I feel like we can be successful.”
Barton is no stranger to success. The Bulldogs won a national championship in 2007, and have 10-20 win seasons during Lievensee’s tenure in Wilson. This young team will have to scratch and claw to get to that level, but they’re working on it.
“Compete, we’ve just really got to compete,” said former Clinton High School star Marcus Boykin. “We have to defend at a high level because we’re short on big’s so we’ve got to get in and rebound and do the little things.”
That chemistry is being built day by day. Practices are hard, by design, as the players learn to trust one another.
“We’ve just got to stay together in adversity and keep fighting when everything is hard,” reasoned senior David Campbell. “We’ve got a young team, stuff is going to happen we’ve just got to keep fighting through it.”
They’ll do so with the help of a coaching icon who’s been here before.