It’s no secret that among basketball teams on the Bluff, the men’s team hasn’t been the one bringing home the conference glory in recent years with numerous SWAC championship appearances and victories. Our women’s teams might be on perhaps their most extraordinary run in decades behind head coach Carlos Funchess. And yet, I still don’t feel like the boys on the Bluff are getting all of their credit.
Since the arrival of head coach Sean Woods three years ago, the Jaguar men’s basketball team has been a work in progress. As old staples at Southern such as Jared Sam and Eddie Reese became distant shadows in the past, new blood has risen to meet the challenges that lay ahead in the SWAC today.
In the 2021-22 Southwestern Athletic Conference Men's Basketball Preseason Poll, the Jaguars have been ranked fifth in the conference behind Texas Southern, PV, Jackson State, and Grambling.
In the face of such disrespect, I feel it’s important to put a few things into perspective for the Jaguars basketball team under Sean Woods. Under Coach Woods, Southern has finished with a winning record in the SWAC the past two seasons.
In the 2019-2020 season that was cut short due to the pandemic, Southern finished with a record of 13-5 in the SWAC and proved to be as talented and well-coached as any other team in the conference. I realize that season was a long time ago now, but that was a snapshot of how good Southern men’s basketball could be.
So no, Southern’s men's team doesn’t have the championship pedigree to boast of that their female counterparts do yet, but I know what I saw with my own eyes. I saw good defensive coaching and effective offense schemes that cut swathes through the SWAC before the pandemic hit.
That said, it’s time that the mass media tunes in to what our boys have to bring to the table. From athletes to shooting, ball handling, and passing, no stone’s been left unturned with this roster from a talent standpoint. I believe that this is the year that Southern men’s basketball takes the next step and makes the first step towards dominance in their own right.