BY John Kaywood
Senior Staff Writer
The men’s basketball team fell to the Holy Cross Crusaders, 93-81, in their season opener on Tuesday, Nov. 6. The lone senior, Sean Hoehn, led the team with 25 points on the day.
Hoehn, who is the longest tenured player on the team, having played all 93 of his career games with Sacred Heart University, is the leader of the team. The team is comprised of seven first-year players (six freshmen, one transfer).
“I’m 100 percent the ‘dad,’” said Hoehn. “It’s the little things that make a difference, such as making sure that everyone is in on time and making sure that everyone’s jersey is tucked in. I’m trying to mentor these guys and incorporate them in everything that we do.”
Head coach Anthony Latina is in his sixth season at Sacred Heart.
“We have so many young and new guys,” said Latina. “You’re either winning or you’re learning, so we try not to get discouraged when times get tough and we just try to get better every day.”
Team-building and gaining chemistry is the goal for the team this season. They are looking for individual improvements from certain players.
Sophomore E.J. Anosike and junior transfer Jare’l Spellman have two different approaches to improving themselves on the court.
“I was a vegan for about two months during the summer, which was a little difficult, so now I just watch what I eat,” said Anosike.
Anosike also spent his summer training and getting mentored by other players and family members.
“Tobias Harris, Kenneth Faried, and even my brother and sister, pushed me through on the court and in the gym to get better this off-season,” said Anosike.
Spellman, who became the Florida Southern all-time leader in blocked shots before transferring over to Sacred Heart, also went through an off-season workout program.
The 6’10” junior watches videos of shot blockers from the National Basketball Association to get himself into the right mindset before games.
“The night before every game, I watch at least two hours of Anthony Davis and Giannis Antetokounmpo highlights,” said Spellman.
Junior Kinnon LaRose has seen the grit and intensity in his teammates’ eyes during training.
“We have some young guys who give a certain edge to the team,” said LaRose. “We did some preseason drills with military guys, and we went to a swimming pool and were running around the football field at 4 a.m.”
The team will have two games featured on ESPN programs this season. On Jan. 10, they will take on Wagner, which will be televised on ESPN3. On Feb. 9, they will face Mount St. Mary’s, which will be on ESPN+.
Latina will stick to his usual suit-and-tie attire for those two games that the team will play in.
“One of the things I learned from both my former bosses, coach [Dave] Bike at Sacred Heart and coach [Howie] Dickerman at Central Connecticut, is you got to be true to yourself,” said Latina.
The team played their first home game of the season on Nov. 12, at the Pitt Center against Western New England College. Sacred Heart would go on to win the game, 114-72, evening their record at 1-1.
Their next game is against the United States Military Academy in Providence, R.I., on Nov. 16.