Three years ago, five inexperienced freshmen jumped on board the Queens Men’s basketball program with hopes of rebuilding a team. Today, on the brink of their senior seasons, Sean Eads, Preston Newlin, D.J Cheek, Josh Twitty and Dan Bailey are set to make one last push to imprint their legacy on the Queens basketball program.
“We want people to remember us as the players who turned the program around,” says senior co-captain and point guard Sean Eads. “Hopefully our work ethic over the past years will give future players the foundation of what needs to be done every single day. It’s hard to believe it’s our last year, but we expect it to be the best year yet.”
Expectations are high. In preseason rankings, Queens is 15th in the country in NCAA Division II and second in Conference Carolinas, just behind Limestone College. The Royals set a program record last year with 13 consecutive wins en route to the conference regular season title and a 16-2 conference and 21-8 overall record. Four starters from last year are back, though the team will miss Reggie Hopkins, who graduated as Queens’ all-time leading scorer.
“We have our own personal and short-term expectations, but we want to live up to all our hype,” says Eads, originally from Greenville, S.C. “We’re an older team; we have played with each other for years now and most importantly we’re confident in our abilities. We can play with any team when we do the right things.”
While the Queens community has high expectations for their basketball team, the players have their own expectations for this year’s fan support. “We want to see the support continue to grow. Hopefully Queens can do a better job getting the word out about our games and come up with a means of transportation for the students. This year could be special. We want everyone to have a part in it,” says Eads.
Not only is this a big year for Queens basketball on the court, it’s also the first year Under Armour is serving as the team’s main clothing sponsor. “This will definitely help our recruiting process in future years,” says wingman Josh Twitty. “Being represented by such a great company like Under Armour will allow us to bring in better players. We just get a lot more gear. Who can complain about that?”
The team’s second preseason game is scheduled Nov. 5 against Clemson.