The rebuilt Western Kentucky men's basketball team left its new head coach pleased following the team's first public appearance since beginning practice for the upcoming 2016-17 season.
With seven new faces on the roster, including a trio of graduate transfers, one of the main concerns, especially early in the season, would be how quickly the team's chemistry comes together. Getting to know teammates personalities both on and off the field is always a key to success and WKU's first-year head coach Rick Stansbury sounded positive on the groups progress in just the last week.
"We've come a long way," he said following the team's scrimmage at Hilltopper Hysteria on Friday night.
"The kids are working hard and that's all that you can ask for right now," he continued. "Just trying to get the energy and the toughness at the level that it needs to be."
In scrimmage action, the Red Team claimed a 36-31 win over the Black Team. Senior Ben Lawson led all with 11 points and five rebounds. Junior Justin Johnson had nine points. Rookie guard Damari Parris lead all newcomers with eight points and handed out six assists.
Stansbury, who says that he'll allow his players "a lot of freedom offensively," was pleased to see production from multiple avenues.
"I think I've got multiple guys that can score in multiple ways, and that's good," he said.
The Hilltoppers returned to practice on Saturday morning and will continue preparations for their season-opener on Nov. 12 against Alabama State. A pair of exhibitions and another public scrimmage are still ahead during the preseason stretch.
"Everybody has gotten better from two weeks ago," said Stansbury.