“It’s a wonderful thing,” said head coach Dick Hunsaker in regard to joining the WAC. “It’s a great thing for the university and our community. I’m very committed to focusing one and only on this season and on the Great West Conference this year and when that’s wrapped up, our eyes and minds and attention will go to the new conference.”
“The teams [in the GWC] will be just as good again and better this year,” said starting point guard Holton Hunsaker. “Everyone is kind of familiar with each other and so they will be ready to play us and know how we play. We’ll be just as urgent as every year to go out and win.”
One of the challenges the Wolverines will face as WAC members next season is playing opponents in arenas they’ve never been in before. The familiarity Hunsaker talked about will be gone and the talent level will increase.
The BYU Cougars provide an excellent example of the challenges that lay ahead for UVU. After being a mainstay on top of the Mountain West Conference standings year in and year out, they moved to the West Coast Conference in 2011, where they finished third overall. They lost games in Gonzaga and at their first time at Saint Mary’s. They also narrowly escaped upsets at San Francisco and Loyola Marymount. UVU will find themselves in a similar situation starting next season when the majority of their opponents will be teams the Wolverines have never faced.
“We’re new to the WAC,” said Nick Thompson. “We’re just new to Division I recently, too, so it’s important for us to get off to a strong start and prove ourselves to other people.”
Bill Murray used baby steps in his 1991 film “What About Bob?” to overcome a fear of diseases to live a normal life. The Wolverines will need to use baby steps this year, and the coming years, to transition into being a force in the WAC.
The final step will be receiving its first ever invitation into a NCAA tournament. Regardless, there is much that needs to occur between now and then, and it starts this season.