KOKOMO, IN – After months of hard work and early morning practices, the Indiana University Kokomo men’s basketball team gears up for its first home game against Bethel College on Thursday, November 17, 7 p.m., at Western High School.
A pre-game party will kick off the night beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the high school, with food, fun, and music – sponsored by the IU Kokomo Alumni Association.
The Cougars, led by Head Coach Jace Thompson, stand poised to make the 2011-12 inaugural campaign the first step in building a solid program for years to come.
Although the Cougars are a first-year squad made up of mostly freshmen, they will be tempered by the veteran presence of guard Anthony Graves (Lake County C.C.). Graves has emerged during preseason workouts as one of the best leaders on the team, and his hard work on the court sets the example for others to follow.
Coach Thompson is also quite pleased with the leadership of the freshmen as well. Brandon Larrick (Western HS), Jake Robertson (Tri-Central HS), and Aaron Knupp (Blue River Valley HS) have all shown that they will be leaders of the IU Kokomo Cougars as the program continues to grow.
The Cougars will make up for what they lack in size and experience with heart and grittiness.
“Our guys are great communicators and work hard together,” Coach Thompson said. “On the defensive end they have all adapted from coming from various schools and are starting to play real well together. They will battle and be physical.”
The 2011-12 campaign will see IU Kokomo do battle against a mix of opponents, including marquee matchups against NCAA Division I Valparaiso University, and NAIA Division I St. Francis (IL).
“The key to 2011-12 is to stay focused on the process of becoming a solid team,” Thompson said. “We have some of the biggest competitors you will find, but we have to understand that good programs work on little details that become habits, and we have to build those habits.”
The Cougars opened the season with an 82-76 win over IU Northwest on November 1.
The Cougars will take part in the 2K Sports Classic, benefitting Coaches vs. Cancer. IU Kokomo will open competition against Valparaiso University November 19 at 6 p.m., followed by a contest with the University of District of Columbia on November 20. Both games will take place on the campus of Valparaiso University.
For more information on IU Kokomo Athletics, please visit our Web site at http://www.iuk.edu/athletics.
Indiana University Kokomo serves north central Indiana.