Sky high expectations for men’s basketball this season

After a successful 20-win campaign during the 2021-22 season, men’s basketball has their sights set on becoming WAC Tournament champions.

Justin Harmon reaches back for the windmill jam (Photo courtesy of UVU Athletics).

On March 9, 2022, the Utah Valley University men’s basketball team fell to #6 seeded Abilene Christian University 82-74 in the Hercules WAC Tournament, ending their season and hopes of an NCAA Tournament appearance. This season, however, head coach Mark Madsen says this team is built to win.

“We have a tremendously deep roster,” said Madsen. “Throughout the length and duration of the season, everyone is going to play a role in the winning tradition of this program.”

UVU will return starters Blaze Nield, Le’Tre Darthard, Tim Fuller as well as Justin Harmon, and a fully healthy Trey Woodbury this year. 

“This year we have been working in the weight room a lot, getting bigger, faster, stronger…working on chemistry and just figuring out the little nuances that it will take to be a good team and play together,” Nield stated.

Woodbury missed the entirety of the regular season last year, only playing in the Wolverines’ first-round WAC Tournament matchup. Woodbury expressed that he is fully healthy and ready to hit the ground running.

“It was a long journey. At the end of the season I played last year… I wouldn’t say I was 100%…I have been 100% for a couple of months now so I feel like I’m getting back in shape and getting my rhythm but it’s been a long journey,” Woodbury said. “This is the most talented team that I’ve been on at UVU. I think we should definitely win the WAC. That’s not a crazy expectation for the amount of talent we have and it would be a letdown if we don’t in my mind.”

Woodbury said that the Wolverines are deeper at every position, setting up high expectations.

“I just think we are deeper at every position. We have a ton of older guys, a ton of experience. Defensively we are super long at every position, we have long wings at every position…I just think defensively we’re long and athletic and I think that translates well to the WAC,” said Woodbury.

The Wolverines will debut some notable transfers including Aziz Bandaogo, who played at NBA Academy Africa and transferred from the University of Akron, as well as transfer guard Tahj Small who came over from WAC opponent Tarleton State.

With the experience of Woodbury, Nield, Harmon, and more combined with new talents such as Bandaogo and Small, the Wolverines should be in store for a competitive regular season, with expectations sky high. To view the Wolverines full season schedule, visit gouvu.com

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