The 2013-2014 basketball season has been a triumphant one for the OKWU men’s basketball team. The team holds the title of Conference Co- Champions with Bellevue, for the MCAC regular season. During pre-season, Oklahoma Wesleyan was picked to win Conference. It appeared that they would not receive the title after they lost four games, but they got hot at the right time. There were two weekend games against top-25 ranked teams, and the Eagles won three out of the four.
Coach Beschta, the rest of the coaching staff and the team members went into the season with high expectations. They had six seniors and several returnees, one of them being Josh Young. After a year away at Mid- America Christian University, he came back to finish his basketball career at OKWU. Having a team that is familiar with one another is beneficial, as coach Beschta said, “With four seniors and one junior in the starting line, we have a very experienced team. It made us be prepared a little earlier and we were able to look back on the past and not start at the very beginning.”
When asked to share about the highlights of the season, coach Beschta had much to brag about. “Highlights go back before official practice started. We did a team retreat, went camping and did team activities to help us grow and bond; it set the tone for the season up ahead.”
“We had a big win playing at Mid Western State against a division two team in the NCAA just after Christmas. Gave them their first loss ever to a non-NCAA division one or two team, so that was a great win and gave a lot of confidence to us,” he continued.
“In conference, beating Bellevue is always a highlight and getting the sweep over College of the Ozarks for the second year in a row is especially rewarding because getting a win there is difficult to come by.”
The team’s hard work was evident and several individual players obtained recognition. Tyler Woods received MCAC First Team All Conference and Josh Young and Phillip Jahn received a honorable mention All Conference.
Devon Harris received MCAC Player of the Year.
As for their low point of the year, the four out of five game losing streak in late November was tough because they were close games, but the team was able to turn things around from there, and they really learned from it.
The men’s basketball team was recognized by their coach for “giving it all on the court and being extremely hard workers.” In turn, the coaching staff wants to help them prepare for life after basketball. “A lot of what we do carries over into the rest of their lives, hoping to set the tone for their jobs and family life”. Every season the coaching staff is pouring into the guys to help them develop into strong men of God and a have strong character in preparation to lead a family, business or in any way that exemplifies Christ. The coaches are always excited to see where they will go after they graduate. “It means a lot when the players contact us in the future to let us know the big things happening in their lives. That’s how you know you reached them.”
As for the team theme, the main word used to represent their goal this year is “worthy.” The team follows Philippians 1 to be worthy of their calling, to learn ho to take care of the talents God has given them, and to use those gifts in ways that glorify Him. “We want to be a team worthy of victory and deserving of victory at the end of the year and known for giving glory to God,” said Beschta. Other words of focus include “humility, family and toughness”. Each athlete was also responsible for coming up with one word of their own to focus on, keeping them in their lockers as a daily reminder.
Oklahoma Wesleyan is proud of the progress the men’s basketball team has made this season. Continue with the team as they travel to Branson, Missouri, and watch them play online opposite Morningside in the first round of the NAIA National Championship tournament on Thursday, March 13th at 8:30 a.m. CT. The game can be viewed in the OKWU cafeteria at that time.