Louisiana Tech Men’s Basketball head coach Eric Konkol guided the Bulldogs through their first official team practice on Wednesday night inside the Thomas Assembly Center.
Konkol, who garnered four postseason awards last season including Conference USA Coach of the Year, enters his seventh season at the helm of a program that is coming off a 24-win season and an NIT Final Four appearance.
“This is like Christmas morning for us in coaching,” said Konkol. “The first day of practice, the season upon us, and we have a really energetic group of guys and that gives energy to all of us.”
Energy is certainly a plenty with this 2021-22 squad. As is leadership with fifth-year seniors Amorie Archibald and Exavian Christon who have combined to play in 210 career games.
“Our older guys knew exactly what was coming,” said Konkol. “There is so much in routine where there are things we want to have as standards that we set. But, then also with the upperclassmen in our program helping the younger guys along. That has been happening all summer into this fall and now really as we load up our practice time. We are going to rely on leadership very much.”
Glance at the roster and you will find a lot of freshmen and sophomores. But with that group, still comes a lot of experience. The top two scorers (and both Third Team All-Conference USA selections) from a season ago – Kenneth Lofton, Jr. and Isaiah Crawford – return with more to prove.
Also back to full health after battling a hand injury late in the year is starting point guard and C-USA All-Defensive Team member Cobe Williams. Add in key reserves at the five position in Stacey Thomas and Kenny Hunter and you have a core group of seven returners from the C-USA West Division title team.
Joining forces with them are seven newcomers – transfers Keaston Willis (Incarnate Word), LaDamien Bradford (Texas A&M) and David Green (Hofstra) as well as four straight out of high school in Kaleb Stewart, Terran Williams, Will Allen and Ben Ponder.
“We are on the younger side, but there is experience in this group,” said Konkol. “Guys that have been in this program a good bit. Then, we have got three new transfers who have experienced time in Division I basketball. I think we have a really good collection of talent. We just need to spend these next 29 practices to gel and come together.”
The remainder of the non-conference schedule is still being finalized. Games that have already been announced are the matchup with LSU in Bossier City on Dec. 18 as well as the entire Conference USA schedule that features home contests against Marshall, WKU, UAB, North Texas and others.
Photo: LA Tech Strategic Communications
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