The Muhlenberg Men’s basketball team tips off the 2019-2020 season on Friday, Nov. 8 against Moravian. Having gone 12-13 in the 2018-2019 season and ending on a three-game losing streak, the Mules are looking to improve their performance this year.
As they prepare for the upcoming season, the team has been working hard to get back into shape, as they are set to begin practices on Oct. 15. Dallas Hoffman ‘22 is ready to get back in the game. “Pretty much from the first week back on campus, we have had lifts. We have conditioning on top of playing pick up at least three or four times a week,” Hoffman said. “This year, we have all been working harder than ever in our preseason, and we all cannot wait for Oct. 15 to come around.”
For Hoffman, preseason has been a team effort, with all members working together in order to change the outcome of the previous season.
“This year is going to be completely different,” said Hoffman. “Now that most guys in my class have had the chance to contribute last year and have seen what it is like to play college basketball, everyone has definitely improved on their game. The mindset this year is to play as a team. Every single person on our team has enough skill to contribute and if we just focus on playing for each other, I have no doubt it will be a successful season,” he continued.
Though the team has lost two big contributors, Brendan Hughes ‘19 and Erik Werheim ‘19, Hoffman is confident that the team will be able to fill the gaps left open by Hughes and Werheim’s graduation. “Granted, we lost our biggest leaders,” Hoffman said. “However, we currently have plenty of guys willing to stand up and ultimately push each other to be successful on the court.”
Last year, the Mules fell short of a Centennial Conference tournament berth, and Hoffman is determined to write the story differently this time around.
“This year, if we plan to be a playoff team, we need to take every single team seriously in our conference. Last year we lost to the last team in our conference, Gettysburg, two separate times, and games like those are the ones that we must win to be a playoff team. At the end of the day, we just have to be focused throughout the entirety of the season and never underestimate any of our opponents,” said Hoffman.
For Mike Morreale ‘21, the same goal is in mind: pushing the team forward and working hard to make the playoffs.
“After not making the playoffs last year, the team needs to have the mentality that we know we have the talent and the capability of advancing through the playoffs. We have been working hard in the offseason, not forgetting how close we came up to being a playoff team,” said Morreale.
Morreale aims to work together with his team to strive to be the playoff contenders he knows they can be. He has been hitting the gym and working hard during preseason. “With practice coming soon, we are staying on a consistent workout schedule in the offseason to get us ready for the season’s upcoming battles,” Morreale said. “We’ve been working out for a consistent five to six weeks to ensure that we are ready for what is to come.”
Working with the team, Morreale has been practicing prior to formal practices, wanting to make sure that he is physically ready when the team comes back together in mid-October.
Agreeing with Hoffman, Morreale understands that the lost seniors will be missed, but is confident that the team will be able to move forward.
“While we lost our seniors and appreciate what was done for us, it is important that we keep a legacy for them,” said Morreale. “Last year, we had a lot of freshmen playing what seemed to be an upperclassman role. With a year of maturing, they are more than capable of helping us lead the 10 new freshmen to the playoffs this season.”
The Mules play their first home game on Nov. 15, with the first two games of the season being on the road against Delaware Valley and King’s College.