MIAMI — Playing one of only four basketball games during the first two months, the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Golden Norsemen tip off the regular season at 7:30 p.m., Wednesday, against the junior varsity of Central Baptist College from Conway, Arkansas.
“Because we’re such a young basketball team, consistency will be our main focus early in the season,” Golden Norse head coach Dustin Grover said. “When I say ‘consistency’ I mean we want to see our guys consistently doing the things we ask them to do.
“We haven’t quite achieved that goal either in our preseason scrimmages or our practices,” Grover said. “So I think we want to get to a point where we are doing things instinctively and a team like Central Baptist will give us that chance.”
Last season Grover guided the Golden Norse to a fourth place finish in the Oklahoma Collegiate Athletic Conference with an 8-8 record.
NEO lost in the quarterfinals on the Men’s Division I Region II Tournament, 74-68, to Seminole State College in the Don Sumner Field House at Shawnee’s St. Gregory’s University.
With the loss the Golden Norsemen finished 16-14 overall.
“Even though it will take time to become consistent, I think we have that feeling as a team that we are growing,” Grover said. “One of the things that we do well as a team is dribble the basketball at both ends of the floor.
“Defensively, we have they type of team that can run around and make some plays,” Grover said. “They don’t just sit back and wait for things to develop, but they run around and make athletic plays that create turnovers.
“Our ability to rotate players will obviously be dictated by the score of the game,” Grover said. “We would like to create a solid rotation of about nine players because it appears we’re only going to be suiting 12 guys out 17 prospects.
“If we come out and play well, then I think in the first half we’re going to come out and stay with our top nine,” Grover said. “Then hopefully if things work out, we’ll get more players involved in the second half.”
The Golden Norsemen make a return trip Friday, Nov. 3 and Saturday, Nov. 4, to the prestigious Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College Classic. NEO faces the junior varsity of Tabor College (1-1) from Hillsboro, Kansas at 5:30 p.m. Friday, before battling the preseason No. 1 ranked Hutchinson Blue Dragons at 7:30 p.m. Saturday in the Hutch Sports Arena.