By Tyler Bartley
The 2018-2019 season was a solid one for the Lancers. Our men’s basketball team here at Worcester State finished up their season with a tough loss to Fitchburg State on the road in the playoffs. There is a lot to be excited about as a fan of the Lancers, though, posting one of their best records in the past couple of years. They finished up going 11-15 overall with an exit in the quarterfinals of our conference playoffs. This is a lot of improvement from just two wins last year and a 29-50 record overall the past three seasons.
The new head coach, Tyler Hundley, has gotten off to a solid start with his team considering the way last year panned out. The great thing about this situation for the Lancers’ basketball team is that not only is the team young with only one senior on the roster this year, but Coach Hundley is young, too, at only 28 years old. Do not be fooled, though, just because he is young does not mean he doesn’t have the experience needed to succeed in his first-ever head coaching role.
Hundley played basketball in college at Eastern Connecticut for four years, and then got into coaching roles not long after. He had multiple assistant roles throughout various New England schools. He spent one year at Salve Regina in Rhode Island, then a year at Lasell College in Massachusetts, and then spent his most recent three years in New Hampshire at Keene State.
Coach Hundley says that the biggest area of concern for his team is trying to be better on the defensive end. “Coming in, I knew the defensive end of the ball was their biggest struggle last year, allowing 87 points a game,” explains Hundley. “We’re not a team that necessarily has the tools to outscore teams every single game, so I knew that having a more disciplined structure defense was going to be key.”
Another important philosophy that the new head coach tries to drive home to his team is to be mentally tough. “I teach the mental part of the game a lot,” says Hundley. “I think a big issue we have had is not letting one play affect the next. We still do it. We still are working on it. We go on stretches where we’re not necessarily scoring, and then we lose focus on the defensive end. We have gotten better throughout the year, but still not a finished product.”
His players seem to find this transition into a new era here at Worcester State rather smooth. “Coach Hundley is a very cool guy,” says sophomore guard, Joe Desormier. “He is very approachable if you have anything you want to discuss. He has a pretty good understanding of the game so it’s easy to relate to a lot of things. He’s come from good programs so we try to listen to him as much as possible.”
It is never easy for a team that has a new coach who is trying to implement his way of doing things. We knew there was going to be a little bit of struggle before the great times, but with the crop of young, hard-working guys on the team and the coaching staff, fans should not expect too much more struggle.
The future looks so bright due to the fact that Hundley got his players to buy into what he is trying to do here at Worcester State.
“The biggest difference in my eyes is how much we’ve learned from last year,” Desormier exclaims. “We all came back knowing what we needed to work on and so far it’s working a lot better. Also we were very inexperienced last year and everyone coming back certainly helps our chemistry.”
With a brand new head coach and a new culture implemented in the team we already have seen the results after one year. Expect Hundley to push his players to the next level over this offseason. The men’s basketball team and its fans are already looking forward to next year.