The Eastern Kentucky University basketball Colonels hit the hardwood Friday night for their first contest of the season. EKU enters this season as the defending Ohio Valley Conference Champion.
By all accounts, EKU had a successful season last year. An OVC title took the Colonels into the NCAA tournament, where Eastern gave traditional power Kansas a good run for its money before losing. Four strong contributors to last year's squad are gone and Head Coach Jeff Neubauer knows you can't live on the previous year's success. "As we look at this season, we're not looking at, well what did we do last year? It's about what can we do this year that's never been done. One challenge we have in front of us, we could win more road games than any team in the country this year," said Neubauer.
After losing four key players, returning guard Corey Walden says the defensive effort this season must be even better. "Well, we just have to be better defensively. We can't be the same defensive team we were last year. We have to be more aggressive. We have to be better, if we want to accomplish big things," said Walden.
Walden and inside player Eric Stutz will be looked to for leadership and scoring. Stutz doesn't worry about a few players taking on too much. "I think we have a pretty deep team, so I think everybody knows their role. So if we just do our own thing, and what we're capable of, everything will fall into place," said Stutz.
The Colonels open the season with an exhibition game Friday night in Richmond, against Urbana College.