For the sports fan who only looks at wins and losses, it may appear that the Embry-Riddle Prescott men’s basketball team did not do well in its inaugural season. That could not, however, be further from the truth. According to the coaches, students and administration, bringing college basketball to the campus and the local community was a tremendous success.
The Eagles did not win their first game until late January, but the coaching staff stayed optimistic.
“We’re such a young group [nine out of 11 are freshmen] and we knew there were going to be bumps along the way. We are starting to cut back on those bumps and are looking forward to what’s in front of us,” says head coach Eric Fundalewicz.
In November, the Eagles were invited to play in front of their largest crowd of the season on the Navajo Nation against a strong Northern Arizona University (NAU) team. More than 3,000 fans packed the arena and the game was televised across Arizona.
“The opportunity to play on the Navajo Nation and to bring the Embry-Riddle name to parts that wouldn’t have known about our university is something we were proud to be a part of,” Fundalewicz says.
The enthusiasm for the team has been contagious both on campus and in the Prescott community. “What I’ve enjoyed most about playing on the first-ever Embry-Riddle Prescott basketball team is being able to make history each and every time we step on the court, and coming together as a team to represent the university,” says sophomore guard Jaran Hoover, who transferred to Embry-Riddle from NAU.
Chancellor Frank Ayers says the team is an extension of the excitement happening in and around the Prescott Campus. “Basketball has brought more incredibly bright young people to our campus to become a part of our family, graduate with distinction and play intercollegiate sports at a high level,” he says. “This epitomizes our entire athletic program.”
The team ended the season with a 4-20 record overall and 4-8 in the conference. In fall 2016, women’s basketball will have its debut at the Prescott Campus.