University of Saint Mary men's basketball looking forward to more normal season

Jason Brown
The Leavenworth Times
Shown is University of Saint Mary senior guard Diego Lucas.

The COVID-19 pandemic was not kind to the University of Saint Mary athletic program last winter and the men's basketball team suffered alongside other winter sports programs as the practices and competition were suspended for nearly two months. 

Head coach Troy Brown spoke about the difficulties the team faced last season and how they are looking forward to a more normal season of basketball at the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference's virtual media day. 

The Spires competed in just 11 contests last season and went 1-10. They opened the season in November 2020 and did not play their second game until Jan. 14 due to various quarantines.

Saint Mary returns its top scorer from last season in guard Diego Lucas. The senior averaged over 14 points per game and two assists per game. 

Other members of the starting rotation from last season are back in Brad Hailey (seven points and five rebounds per game), Luke Mackey (three rebounds per game), Che Smith (10 points per game as a freshman), Christian Carmichael (14 points per game) and Cam Southern (seven points and four rebounds per game).

"We're really going to rely on the scoring abilities of our two seniors Diego Lucas and Christian Carmichael," Brown said. "We'll also be leaning on guys like Brad Hailey and Luke Mackey as leaders."

Brown also mentioned Basehor native Kobe Sifford (3.5 points per game) along with Elias Akale, Nick Funk (three rebounds per game) and Sam Billimon as athletes he expects to step into larger roles to help the team win. 

The Spires will open the season with two home games as they host Kansas Christian College Nov. 5 and Jarvis Christian College Nov. 8. Following the brief home stint, Saint Mary will hit the road for games against Baker (Nov. 10), Haskell Indian Nations (Nov. 12) and Park University (Nov. 13) before starting KCAC play.