CWU men’s basketball prepare for upcoming season


Samaad Hector at media day. Photo courtesy of Jacob Thompson / Thompson Sports

Isaac Hinson, Sports Editor

The men’s basketball team plays their first exhibition game on Nov. 1 against Whitworth University in Spokane. 

Coming off a 17-9 season, which included a heart-breaking loss in the Great Northwest Atlantic Conference (GNAC) championship game, the Wildcats find themselves with a roster overhaul. 

“We have seven returners and eight new players,” assistant coach Drew Church said. “Half of our team are incoming players and we’re trying to get them acclimated to how we operate, our standards, procedure and playing style.”

Coach Church pointed to last year’s team as reference for the style of play he and the coaching staff hope to instate. 

“We were one of the highest scoring teams on the west coast last year,” Church said. “We averaged just under 82 points a game. Hopefully we can get close to that number. I don’t know if we’ll be able to score quite as much as the team last year, but hopefully we’re going to be a good, efficient offensive team that competes on the defensive end and makes it tough on opposing teams to score.”

Church says that newcomer 6-foot-6 forward Samaad Hector is looking to be the anchor on the new-look defense. 

“[Hector] gives us a different look than maybe some of the other teams we’ve had in terms of a shot-blocking presence,” Church said. “He’s been able to block some shots in practice that have definitely surprised his teammates and coaches.”

Hector previously played at Sacramento State University (SSU) and Lower Columbia College (LCC). At LCC, Hector averaged 18 points, 14.8 rebounds and 1.7 blocked shots per game. Those stats won him the Northwest Athletic Conference Western Region MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year award. 

On the offensive end, Church says that 6-foot-6 forward Matt Poquette is likely to be a reliable option. Poquette averaged 12.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2 assists a game in the 2021-22 season. 

“Matt definitely has the most experience,” Church said. “He’s going to be a big piece this year. He’s averaged over 10 points a game in his career here.” 

Church said he is excited about what the new faces can bring to the offense in the absence of previous players. 

“Last year, it was pretty obvious who our most dynamic offensive players were,” Church said. “Xavier Smith, David Thompson, Marcus Gilson and Matt [Poquette] were kind of a big four for us last year … We got our new guys now. They all bring something different to the table, and I’m excited to see how that plays out.”

According to Church, the Wildcat’s goal this season is to see themselves be the best team they can be. 

“Not to sound cliche or give you too much coach-talk,” Church said. “But simply reaching our potential is the goal. I think that every coach’s goal is trying to get as much out of their team as possible. I think that if we focus on that and focus on getting better each day, trying to reach our potential on a daily basis, then the results are going to take care of themselves.”