Avenue. Lewis – David Ragland arrived on the Missouri Athletic Membership for the Males’s Basketball Media Day on the Missouri Valley Convention on Wednesday as he typically does in any room he enters, with a giant smile on his face to specific his happiness for the times forward. He wore the identical purple tie as he had executed for his introductory press convention, a floral sample partially hidden behind a black swimsuit with a brand new purple belt.
He joked that he was not defeated but. This summer season was a honeymoon interval, in spite of everything.
Ragland sat on the podium for his conference-wide presentation, recalling a letter butler coach Thad Mata had despatched him concerning the state of faculty basketball earlier than he left for the College of Evansville.
“On the finish of the day, basketball is basketball,” Matthew instructed him. “Recruiting is recruiting. On the finish of the day, they’re the folks you do it with.”
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In fact, there was a loaded day forward. Media interviews crammed Ragland and the three gamers who made the journey – Blaise Beauchamp, Marvin Coleman II and Antoine Smith Jr.
The reporting countdown is quick approaching. Issues are beginning to look actual. The primary in-person media day since 2019 added to the anticipation that led to the primary official apply on September 28.
“Now we have every week of full coaching and 20 hours every week,” Ragland mentioned. “We really feel higher concerning the composition of our group despite the fact that they’re taking part in towards one another.”
There have been quite a lot of totally different subjects lined by Ragland and the opposite coaches throughout the valley. Listed here are three foremost speaking factors:
Missouri Valley Convention coaches are forward of David Ragland to revive the Aces
Ryan Bydon lately spoke to Ragland. The brand new head coach for Illinois State and the brand new head man within the EU have a superb relationship and share the frequent floor of being first-year coaches on the new-look MVC.
“I’ve recognized David Ragland for a very long time,” Bedon mentioned. “He is an important coach, and he is very revered in our enterprise. He is a good friend, and that undoubtedly will not change.”
Ragland and Bedon had related struggles previous to their first seasons in management. Having one another to speak to and share concepts with was a superb benefit for every of them after they begin their teaching profession. Ragland compares their relationship to that of a exercise accomplice or somebody who’s on a food regimen with them.
“A number of occasions, going by way of something alone may be troublesome,” Ragland mentioned. “It makes it simpler. … Iron sharpens iron. He has at all times been an important good friend and an important coach and could be nice as a head coach. Simply to have the ability to examine on him, and I spoke to him each coach within the league, simply to attach.”
The consensus from MVC coaches is a respect for the work Ragland has executed up up to now. Some forecasters have already got a purple ace on the backside of MVC once more – a pre-season convention ballot might be introduced in a couple of weeks – however coaches say they’ve been impressed and supported the efforts of Ragland and his crew.
“I see him working. I see him grinding on the street,” Bradley coach Brian Wardle mentioned. “I feel they’re dedicated to constructing this program and I hope they’ll try this. I might like to see each college within the Valley doing properly, particularly non-conferences. Not simply after they had been Bradley.”
“He is made an important group and I feel he is acquired individuals who actually care concerning the school and individuals who care about Evansville,” Southern Illinois coach Brian Mullins mentioned. “Clearly the fan base is nice, so I do know he will get this factor.”
Ragland spoke about how being a local of Evansville offers him an edge in native recruiting, which resonated with the league. That mixed with this system’s wealthy historical past might be an enormous assist in getting the Aces again to prominence after the 6-24 season.
“Sure jobs want individuals who perceive the way to obtain success, and never all jobs are the identical,” Missouri State coach Dana Ford mentioned. “I feel he has an important understanding of how Evansville basketball is again in its glory days. I feel he grew up in that space, has recruiting relationships, it might virtually be thought of a dream job.”
Saved software program becoming a member of new-look MVC ‘will increase competitiveness’
Ragland is on his third project at MVC, however that is his first step as head coach.
The league he enters could be very totally different from the league he has skilled up to now. Throughout his time at Indiana and Valparaiso, former MVC powers now Creighton and Wichita had been on prime of the rankings and competed for the High 25 and NCAA Championships. Nonetheless, MVC remained a multi-show league for many seasons regardless of its spin.
Loyola got here in and left for the Atlantic 10, and now there’s an opportunity for a group to win the rostrum within the convention.
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Ragland enters the league once more by way of adjustments. Belmont, Murray State and Illinois-Chicago joined after collaborating within the Ohio Valley Convention and the Horizon League. This creates further challenges for the MVC desk of 20 video games (upped from 18) and new opponents to study.
“You take a look at a really aggressive, storied league, however you add three groups and packages which are storied packages,” Ragland mentioned. “It solely provides to the competitiveness. It additionally provides to the depth of the league and creates a chance for us to be a multi-pronged league.”
Though it’s not a brand new phenomenon, the reorganization of conferences has remained on the forefront of nationwide curiosity. The USC and UCLA’s impending transfer to the Large Ten has left PAC-12 in limbo whereas others proceed to expertise splits.
With widespread adjustments within the school athletic panorama, the main focus stays on enhancing by way of enlargement and providing stronger packages than these leaving.
“Probably the most thrilling factor is that now we have added tournament-caliber packages,” Ford mentioned. “And these groups haven’t been good due to the tournaments they play in, they’ve been good due to the dedication to males’s basketball in each college. That is the primary time that I really feel that our league has added higher groups than it has misplaced.”
The Aces are getting ready for the longer term, however that does not imply they plan to wrestle once more this season
The NCAA Switch Portal has modified school basketball. Over 1,400 gamers entered their names this season, which signifies that every DI group had a mean of three.9 Exams.
The fixed development of the schedule has modified expectations in many colleges. Within the Valley, Missouri needed to substitute all-conference performer Isaiah Mosley (Missouri) whereas Illinois misplaced Antonio Reeves (Kentucky). Simply final month, a UIC newcomer owned the enduring Damaria Franklin soar ship to Memphis with no time to exchange him.
UE ultimately misplaced six transfers, plus three others both graduated or left this system. Shamar Jevans (UTEP), Joan Newton (Southern Illinois), Blake Sisley (Wright State), and Troy Boynton (South Carolina) arrived at different DI faculties.
Alternatively, Aces Coleman introduced in from UNLV, Seiko Kali from Akron and Kenny Strawbridge Jr. from Alabama.
UE has 9 new faces on its roster with transfers and starters. They shortly gathered after a late coaching change. There’s a fundamental must construct group concord from scratch.
Ragland seems assured regardless of the slate overhaul.
“For 19 years, I used to be on a one-year contract,” Ragland mentioned. “My accountability to Marvin, he has one yr to try this. So we’re not simply going to say we’re getting ready for the longer term and never caring concerning the current.”
He continued, “We’ll attempt to be one of the best we may be this yr and we are going to do the identical subsequent yr. They did not put the contract in entrance of me and say, ‘Coach, you’ll be able to solely win X Video games’ or ‘You’ll be able to’t combat for a championship.'” The sky is the restrict. They left a clean canvas.”