Men’s basketball looks to powerful scorers, strong leadership in 2016

The Hastings College men’s basketball team has high expectations for this season after finishing last season with an 18-12 record. The thought on all the players’ minds is Branson, Missouri, the host of the NAIA men’s national tournament.

Last season the Broncos were in the top 20 in scoring, averaging just 85 points per game. The Broncos were led by guard Connor Musiel, who averaged 14 points per game and is expected to be a big contributor this upcoming year.

“One thing we are really striving for is not only finish top four in the GPAC, but also win the GPAC,” Musiel said.

Another key contributor last year was transfer Rich Williams, who is at his third school so far. Williams thinks that this team has a different feel to it and feels more comfortable to him.

“I went to two different junior colleges, and everything was about ‘you, you, you’ and how many points you can score or how many offers you are going to get,” Williams said. “I think coming here to Hastings is a huge accomplishment for one because these guys really look up to me and I look up to them. They treat me as their brother, like I grew up with them. That’s a big thing to me, and thats what we have here: a family.”

Jake Hansen was a spot starter and sixth man all of last season as a three point shooter for the Broncos. Hansen averaged 34 percent on his three-point shots, while shooting 132 threes, which placed second on the team. Hansen talked about how the Broncos’ offseason camp went and why they are excited about the season.

“One of the things that happened a lot was that we were getting after each other in the pickup game and stuff. A lot of jawing and physicality, which is good and we have really good chemistry right now,” Hansen went on to talk about how that helps. “We don’t take any of that personal, its just getting the best out of everyone and holding everyone accountable.”

The Broncos also look to have added help from senior transfer Trey Moore who is coming in from Florida Southern and Kevin Harkins from Northwestern Oklahoma State. Moore is a point guard who shot 44 percent from three-point land and 93 percent from the free throw line. Moore also averaged six points and 2.6 assists per game. Harkins is a solid rebounder who averaged almost six rebounds per game at Northwestern Oklahoma State.

“[Kevin Harkins] is 6’8, 240 [pounds] and is extremely physical, extremely tough. He comes out of a great program of Omaha South,” Gavers said. “Trey has played at Duke and at Syracuse so he has played at some big environments. He’s been through the wars a little bit and is not going to be afraid of any challenge ahead of him, so he brings strong leadership particularly late in big games.”

The Broncos are just starting practice but are almost ready for their first taste of real game action, which will take place Oct. 29 in York, Nebraska.

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