Highlights from MIAA Media Day

The Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Basketball Media Day took place on Tuesday, with coaches from every team answering questions from the press in a virtual conference.

The MIAA also announced Tuesday its coaches’ poll for both men’s and women’s basketball. The UCO men’s team was tabbed sixth, and the women’s team seventh.

Men’s head coach Bob Hoffman:

In Hoffman’s opening statement, he talked about his excitement for the upcoming season.

“I’m really excited about our opportunity to step into this season with the team we have,” Hoffman said.

“I thought our guys last year finished well. We didn’t do what we wanted to do in the conference tournament, but we’re really thrilled about our new guys that are going to be a part of our squad. I just love my team.”

Hoffman also talked about how some of the new additions to the team, and how they can give them a boost.

We’ve added some pieces. Callen Haydon, who led the country in assists at Connors Junior College, he can really handle the ball. Davon Richardson, point guard, big guard out of Sand Springs High School, and we have multiple shooters. Jaden Wells is going to be great, Conner Calavan and Austin Fenton, all those guys are new. We had two guys sitting out at practice. Shemar Smith from Norman North, he will be a freshman, then Isaiah Wade I think has a chance to lead the country in rebounding.”

Central was picked last place in the MIAA coaches’ poll last season, so they improved by eight spots.

Women’s head coach Guy Hardaker:

In Hardaker’s opening statement, he talks about COVID-19 and how it has affected his team.

“For a team like mine that has had to quarantine three different times this season, we are nowhere ready to be playing, but for their mental well-being and mental health, it has been fantastic for our kids to have something to look forward to,” he said.

“We got a decent team this year, I believe. We are strong in some areas, and we have to get better in some other areas. Fortunately for us, we will have very strong post-play. One of the best players in the league will be back for us, Kelsey Johnson.”

Hardaker also talked about the youth of the team this season.

“As the league goes, you are as good as your guards. We will be playing a lot of young, inexperienced freshman, a couple of them at the point guard spot. I think the key to us is how quickly they develop,” he said.

Hardaker was also asked what the consistent factor has been for the program over the years.

“I think it’s consistency as far as your work ethic. We are recruiting mainly high school kids. we receive very few transfers, and in this league, there are a lot of transfers,” he said.

“We haven’t had a lot of luck with that. Obviously, Kelsey is a transfer and she is our best player, but we got to remain consistent day in and day out. We got to practice and compete hard every day, and we got to recruit high-character kids.”

The men’s and women’s teams will hold their Bronze & Blue game on Wednesday, and they are scheduled to open up the season against the Missouri Southern State Lions on Thursday, Nov. 19 at Hamilton Field House.

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