By Richard Brumbelow, KNWD Sports Director
It’s been quite the ride for Demon basketball fans as everyone through these times have been trying to make sense of all that is going on.
Last year’s Demon squad flashed tremendous potential with an early tournament victory over Texas A&M – Corpus Christi. The team felt as though they could beat anyone, or at least according to head coach, Mike McConathy. “I really believe this in my mind, that every one of them thought we were going to win the next game and we were going to win the next game.”
McConathy had a reason to believe as many of the players that stepped onto the court for the Demons were poised to attack the basket on any given night. During the 2019-2020 season stretch, five different Demons lead the team in total points scored per game. This is Coach McConathy’s philosophy of team-oriented basketball.
“We’ve got one game where we play eight games on the road…if you get to the conference tournament, you’re going to have to play three games, maybe four games within a five-day period. It prepares you for those opportunities.”
In the Southland Conference, the regular season prepares players for the competition, however, there is significant importance to the conference tournament, says McConathy. “In our league, whoever wins the tournament is the one that is going to the NCAA tournament. This is a one-bid league…you’ve got to win that tournament to get there.”
Coach McConathy’s team-oriented atmosphere not only gives the Demons their best shot to win games, but it also gives the opportunity to every player on the team to score and play the game. One such player that the coach had praise for was senior guard, Jairus Roberson or as Coach Mike calls him, Slim. “Slim can really score the basketball, but you know the things that I appreciate about him, he is a rare breed in that he will defend and shoot…If our whole team would talk and communicate like he communicates defensively it would be unbelievable what he could do.”
Roberson backs up this praise from his head coach by being not only the best three-point shooter on the team, but in team history. Roberson ties the second-place mark in Northwestern State history with 80 three-pointers. However, Roberson doesn’t believe it will stop here. “That was just me at the beginning of the season, I was trying to get used to this new team.”
On what to expect from his upcoming season Roberson stated, “Out of me, a lot of energy and a bunch of threes.” As for the team, Roberson provides some exciting outlook on his teammates for the season. “We’re going to put on a show…I love this team.”
With the season opening season opening against AP No. 14 ranked Texas Tech, expect the season to be filled with exciting moments and a whole lot of team play to help the Demons stay at the top of the Southland Conference. If you want to check out the Demons in action for yourself, grab yourself a ticket and a mask and head out to Prather on Dec. 6 at 2:00 p.m. CST to check out the team against ULM.