KINGSVILLE, Texas — The disappointment of not being able to play in last year's NCAA Division II National Tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic still haunts many Texas A&M-Kingsville fans.
No one will ever know just how far that team could have advanced.
"I thought we were on the verge of doing something really special," said Javelinas head coach Johnny Estelle. "My heart broke for those five seniors, but you have to live and learn. Everything happens for a reason because God does not make mistakes and we have to move forward."
The basketball program has rebounded with great success this year; starting out with a 9-1 record that has pushed them to the No. 25 ranking nationally.
Still, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to cause scheduling issues. Their two-game series at West Texas A&M was postponed this past weekend due to coronavirus issues within the Buffaloes program.
Even with half the roster new this season, this year's TAMUK team may actually be better than the last.
"I think we are better," said Javelinas guard Tre Flowers. "We play a lot more fast-paced and we have a lot more guys who can shoot the ball, so I think this team has a pretty good chance of going back to the national tournament."
The Javelinas' improved offense is a big reason for that confidence
"I don't think we are as tall as last season," said Javelinas forward Will Chayer. "But we can shoot the ball and drive to the hoop a lot better."
The Javelinas are eager to play again, hosting Cameron in Kingsville on Friday and Saturday at TAMUK.
When they play those games, it will be their first games in two weeks.
They can't wait to return to action.