It will be here before you know it.
Not the jolly old, bearded, fat man, who will come way too soon like usual, or the end of another semester, which never comes fast enough-but this week brings some answers.
The curtains are opened and the light starts to shine in.
It’s a new season with new hopes, goals and aspirations among the basketball teams. Plenty of questions have gone unanswered.
The men’s basketball team is back after winning the Independent league last year with several key components back to prove something.
The women’s team is trying to improve on its 15-13 record with its major players back again.
The men’s team opens exhibition play with the first of two preseason games against Mesa State Thursday; while the women are at it the following day against Eastern Washington in games where coaches will be trying to win, but more importantly, trying to find answers.
The early the answers, the easier adjustments can be made.
On the men’s side, Ryan Toolson led the team in scoring last season while coming off the bench, but he didn’t have to take on the leadership role for the Wolverines. Can he do both this year?
Toolson had Matt Peterson and David Heck to add to the team’s perimeter scoring, but they’re both graduated. Who will help with perimeter scoring?
Jordan Brady is slightly undersized as a power forward but showed more than a few flashes-he belongs in paint with the big boys as a junior. He’s smaller than the Jazz’s Paul Milsap, but plays similar. Can he begin where he left off last year?
Joe Walker started to make a difference before he was hampered by injuries the last few weeks, a season ago. He knows how to get the crowd going, but can he get his team going and stay on the floor?
Josh Olsen saw back-up minutes behind Chris Bailey last season as point guard. This year, will he be able run the offense and take command?
Richard Troyer also contributed from the bench in 2006-07. Can he play a bigger role for the team?
Coach Dick Hunsaker is a defense-minded coach, so you know he is asking whether or not his team, as a team, can prevent opponents from scoring.
And of course, what role will the newcomers play?
Women’s coach Cathy Nixon has many of her key players a season ago returning for another year, but that doesn’t mean all the answers are in.
Robyn Fairbanks won’t be a question, she’s been solid for two years, but who will step up and become the Stockton to this Malone?
Sandy Marvin is one option, and she did last year, in several games. At point guard, will she continue to be able to lead the offense when she wants to score?
Julie McMurray stepped up in a few games down the stretch after being broken in, early her freshman season. Will she continue to improve as a scorer and defender for Utah Valley?
Asumi Nakayama played her first year of basketball in the United States and found out that she fits right in. She passed up plenty of open shots last year. Can she get a little selfish to help her team?
Supporting players Hollie Beaman and Rebekah Peterson played consistent minutes, but not always consistent last year. Can the two be involved early and often during both games and the season?
Every season there is plenty of questions to be asked and plenty that go unanswered, or badly answered. The exhibition games won’t answer every question the teams have, but it will give some insight to what is to come the rest of the year.