Men's Basketball: Season Preview
The conclusion to the 2022-2023 season was a bittersweet one for the Thunder. On one hand the team made it to their second consecutive NCCAA Final Four, advancing all the way to the national title game. Then on the other hand the Thunder saw a class graduate that accounted for over 85% of their on floor production and contributed to the culture of the program in immeasurable ways.
"The group that graduated last year was a special one," commented 5th year Head Coach, Jordan Strom. "But that was last year. We can't look at that group anymore. They say comparison is the thief of joy and if we continually compare this team with that one we're going to miss out on some special moments this season."
Enter the 2023-2024 team featuring 8 returners and 8 newcomers. Of the returners the most notable is 5th year senior, Dyelan Reed (Concordia, KS). The forward is the only returning starter from a year ago where he averaged 13.5 ppg on 35% shooting from 3FG. Reed earned all conference honors a season ago. Returning contributors from a season ago also include senior Jamie Juncal (Perth, Australia) and junior Cody Mericle (Manhattan, KS). Juncal, the 6-5 forward, transferred to MCC from Spurgeon during the 22-23 season where he came off the bench scoring 6.5 ppg off of 34% from three point land. Mericle, the 6-6 forward, came on late in the season to provide a spark for the Thunder off the bench. Senior guard, Caden Hurla (Paxico, KS), comes back to the MCC lineup after missing the entire 22-23 season with a knee injury while senior forward, Alex Sturtz (Boone, IA), is back to full strength after battling injury and illness the second half of last season. Senior Desmond Lindsey also returns to the team for one final go at it. Sophomores Jaxon Hurla (Paxico, KS) and La'Zel Evans (Kansas City, KS) round out the group of returners. Both will be looked to for contribution during the 23-24 season. In addition to the returners Coach Strom and his staff bring in eight newcomers that include three transfers and five true freshmen. These newcomers should prove to be valuable contributors for the 2023-24 version of the Thunder.
"We're excited about the group of guys that we have this season. We have several returners that are stepping into bigger roles and new guys that will be looked to help this team grow over the course of the season. This group is fun to be around every day and we're looking forward to playing games," said Coach Strom.
MCC opens their season on Friday, November 3rd at 6:00 pm vs Sterling College in the first game of the CCC Classic for Christ. The rest of the schedule can be seen here.