The College of Charleston men’s basketball season starts on Friday against Siena in hopes to improve from last year’s successes. The Cougars went 25-10 last season-falling one win away from a bid to the NCAA tournament and instead accepted a bid to the NIT.
Entering in his fourth year as the head coach, Earl Grant brings optimism and familiarity to the 2017 -2018 Cougars. With high expectations to have yet another strong season, Grant remains focused on his task at hand: to win.
The Cougars were picked to be named preseason favorites to win the Colonial and had both Jarrel Brantley and Joe Chealey named to the All-CAA First Team.
Grant Riller was named to All-CAA Second Team.
The Cougars have nine upperclassmen ready to have another great year with freshmen and sophomores ready to prove they belong as well.
When asked about his expectations for the 2017-2018 season he said, “My expectations are to play with the right competitive spirit. The day to day hard work and effort are what I am expecting this season”, Grant said.
Aside from Siena in their home opener, the Cougars will also play Witchita State and the Charlotte 49ers as other notable nonconference games.
A city in Charleston dying for their team to return to its once dominant self it has grown tremendously while Grant has been the head coach.
Each season the Cougars have won eight more games than they did the previous season. Starting with nine wins in the 2014-2015 season the Cougars have skyrocketed to 25 wins in the 2016-2017 season.
Grant will look to his upperclassmen to be the leaders of the team and one especially is Chealey.
“I think [Chealey] has a huge impact. A lot of it is the type of person and leader he is, leading by example on and off the court. He is always in the gym so guys see that. It makes it easy to listen to a guy who you see working all the time,” Grant said.
Even with expectations seemingly through the roof Grant and his staff embraces the challenge in hopes of having a successful season.
An exciting time for Cougars’ basketball this could be the year that the Cougars make an appearance to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1999.