Every once in a while, I’ll hear a student mutter something like, “Yeah, AU is awesome, but I just wish we had the athletic events that big schools do,” or “there’s just not much to go to on the weekends.”
Sure, AU may not have a Kyle Field that seats 102,733 people for an SEC football game. What Anderson does offer is historic O.C. Lewis Gymnasium, a 1,738 seat arena that was renovated this offseason. And if you’re looking for something to do around campus this winter, look no further than the men’s basketball team.
The Ravens posted a 9-2 record inside the friendly confines of O.C. Lewis last season, averaging 86.8 points per game. Three returning players averaged over 15 points per game and the team ranked in the top 25 across the NCAA in multiple offensive categories.
The Ravens race up and down in their home grey uniforms, have an ultra green light on offense, knock down the three at a high rate and play a chaotic, havoc style defense. There is no shortage of excitement when AU takes the court.
If you’re looking to something fun to do on campus, O.C. Lewis is the place to be anytime the Ravens have a home game.
Coming off of a 17-win season, 14 of which came in conference play, a great deal of excitement surrounds the team as they look to bounce back from last year’s first round loss in the conference tournament.
“Manchester was a disappointing loss,” said Stanley Duncan. “We felt like we could have made a run last year, but it’s being used as a learning experience. We’re moving forward, and that’s all we can do.”
In addition to the tournament let down, the Ravens received added motivation after being slighted in the HCAC preseason poll.
Trevor Lucas laughed after seeing AU ranked fifth in the preseason poll. “Preseason polls mean nothing,” he said. “We were picked sixth last year and tied for second. We just have to prove everyone wrongagain.”
The Ravens had three players selected to the all-conference team last season. Lucas was named 1st Team All-HCAC, while Duncan and Cole Hartman earned 2nd team honors. Lucas was also selected to the All-Great Lakes region team.
Lucas cited AU’s own “Big 3” as reason for high expectation. “I think this year has got to be a conference championship or bust expectation,” he said. “We have the most talented trio in the conference.”
He touched on Duncan’s basketball IQ and Hartman’s improved face-up game as vital weapons for the Ravens fast-paced offense.
In addition to the high hopes he has for the team, Lucas is putting a great deal of pressure on himself.
“I was runner-up for conference Player of the Year last year,” he said. “I want to win Player of the Year and be an All-American.”
While the three-headed monster would be enough for most teams, the Ravens’ talent goes much deeper.
“I believe we have 10-plus guys ready to compete,” Duncan said. Lucas mentioned that many of the incoming freshman and returning role players as Ravens ready to make an impact.
One of the unsung heroes is senior captain Cory Krieger. Krieger called this the most talented team he has been a part of, and echoed that he has big dreams for this season.
Cory explained that the pace AU plays at gives them a huge edge over conference foes.
“Our tempo definitely works in our favor,” he said. “We play at a very high pace and score a lot of points. Teams can’t keep up with us for a full 40 minutes.”
He expects that their frenetic style of play will have them near the top of the conference standings come February.
Alec Brown is junior public relations major and global business minor from Greenwood, Indiana.