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Titans ready to tip-off season

Both teams feature new faces -- and a new name

By JENNA DANIEL / VN EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
On October 19, 2016

 

It’s a season of changes for both basketball teams at the University of Detroit Mercy.

 

The men’s team features a new head coach for the first time in nearly a decade, and the women’s team, after playing most of last year with just eight healthy student-athletes, features five new players. Both teams will feature a new name; as part of the university’s recent re-branding, the athletic teams will now be known as the “Detroit Mercy Titans,” instead of the “Detroit Titans.”

 

Both teams hope the new additions will help them make a run at the Horizon League championship, although pre-season polls predict them to finish around the middle of the pack.

 

The men’s team was picked to finish sixth in the league this year. Men’s coach Bacari Alexander said his team is focused on defense.

 

“Defense and rebounding are what win championships,” Alexander said.  “You have to make sure the cornerstone of everything you do starts there.”

 

Senior Chris Jenkins was recently named All-Horizon League Second Team, and will be a team captain this year.

 

Jenkins, who will receive two degrees from the University in computer information systems and English when he graduates this May, spoke highly of Alexander and his push for the team’s new strive for strong defense.

 

“I like how determined he is,” Jenkins said.  “He shows a lot of humility and he’s really focused.  I like his demeanor with the team, and it’s really different from what we had in the past.”

 

Alexander has replaced former coach of eight years Ray McCallum, who was let go after last season.

 

Jenkins also noted that it was an easy and positive transition with Alexander, because they were previously acquainted, and as a former Titan himself, Alexander knows what it means to be a Titan and continue the legacy. 

 

Transfer student Isaiah Jones is also excited to start his career as a Titan under the leadership of Alexander. 

 

Most transfer students have to sit out for a season according to NCAA regulations, however, that is not the case for Jones.

 

“My goal is to have an impact on the game in whatever way I can,” he said.  “Practice has been going well, and everyone is working really hard.”

 

The ladies on the women’s team are also excited for what the season will bring, especially with nearly double the amount of players they had last year.

 

 

Sisters Haleigh and Lola Ristovski are looking forward to their final season together on the team, as Haleigh is a senior this year.

 

“I have a lot of expectations in the younger girls this year,” said Haleigh Ristovski.  “Last year we only had eight (players) and we were competing for second (place), and now we have 14, so I can only imagine what we can do.”

 

Lola Ristovski, a sophomore, will likely have a tougher fight for playing time this season with such a deeper bench.

 

“Fighting for my (starting) spot is the hardest thing right now,” said Lola Ristovski.  With last year’s significantly smaller team, she saw more of each game than most incoming freshman typically do.  I know it’s just going to be based on how well I do in practice.”

 

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