CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — In a little more than a week, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi opens its basketball season against Texas A&M-International.
The game, set for Thanksgiving Eve at the American Bank Center, features an Islanders team full of tremendous energy and why not? COVID-19 made off season workouts impossible.
These young men are just grateful to be back on court.
"We went the whole summer with no workouts, so we have people showing up the first day of school as our first time of meeting each other," said guard Peyton Smith. "So it's been a tough transition, but I think we have a really good group of guys, which has made it a lot easier to get along and be comfortable with each other."
This year's teams is made up of eight returning players and eight new faces. But Islanders Coach Willis Wilson, who returns for his 10th season at TAMU-CC, said while his players are doing the right things on the court, what they are doing away from the hardwood is more important.
"Since we have been practicing, we have been fortunate to not have any COVID issues, and we have been able to keep our focus on basketball," he said. "Guys are making a sacrifice off the floor so we can have basketball in this gym and obviously we are looking forward to the start of the season."
The Islanders are picked to finish ninth in the Southland Conference preseason poll, and are eager to prove the pollsters wrong.
"We have a lot of athleticism and talent from every position," guard/forward Jalen White said. "So I am looking forward to getting on a run this season which is something we could not do last year, and looking forward to it this season."