The Benedictine Men’s Basketball team has not played on a basketball court since March 19th. On that day, the team lost to St. Thomas in the Division III Championship game in Salem, Virginia, ending the most successful season in program history. In the historic season, the team went further than any other team in program history in the Division III National Tournament as well as an undefeated regular season, a number one national ranking, a player of the year and a coach of the year. That coach, Head Coach Keith Bunkenburg, now turns to his new roster at the start of camp this week as they look to build on the unprecedented success of last year’s team.
“Our goal is to win our conference and to win a national title,” Bunkenburg said, “That’s our goal and that’s our goal every year and we are all on the same page.”
As the team pushes through camp, Bunkenburg is not letting them forget to focus on the small parts of the game that he believes are important to the championship effort. During one scrimmage session, Bunkenburg stopped the action to make sure all of his men were engaged, making them call out actions on the court.
“If you are not doing the little things and not communicating, you are not going to win,” Bunkenburg said, “Talent can only take you so far. Talent, unselfishness, discipline and preparation can win you a national title and that’s a big thing for me.”
The team will look to some of the key contributors of last year’s team as they prepare for the season ahead. This year’s team will rely heavily on its senior leadership, most notably Senior Forwards Shawn Soelter and Adam Reynolds and Guard Michael Blaszczyk, all team captains for the upcoming season.
“Last year’s ending left a bitter taste in our mouths,” Soelter said, “But we have a lot of returners who are hungry for more and we know what it takes to get where we want to be.”
The team is already gaining national attention heading into the season as they were ranked sixth in the nation in D3hoops.com’s Preseason Top 25 poll. The team will look to continue their 30 game regular season win streak as they tip off against Wheaton College on November 17th.