Major changes expected for King’s College men’s basketball team
Head coach Chad Wadden revamps the program with experience he gained at Dalhousie
November 8, 2018, 3:27 pm ASTLast Updated: November 9, 2018, 4:16 pm
The University of King’s College men’s varsity basketball team is kicking off the season with plenty of confidence, despite a 13-year championship drought.
This renewed optimism comes from hiring Chad Wadden as head coach. Wadden spent the last four seasons serving as an assistant coach with the Dalhousie Tigers men’s varsity team. They won four Atlantic University Sport championships and a bronze U-Sports medal.
“We have a good mix, but we’re fairly young. The hardest thing is trying to change the culture. It takes a while for everybody to buy into that,” says Wadden.
This year isn’t Wadden’s first time as head coach of the King’s team; he also held the position six years ago. He says he’s excited to be back coaching in the Atlantic Collegiate Athletic Association, of which King’s is a member.
“It’s a great league; it produces a great product,” he says. “It’s a very competitive league, so I’m very excited about the opportunity to come back here.”
He says his experience with Dalhousie taught him to pay attention to detail — and he expects his players to do the same.
“The success that we had at Dal had a lot do with the players that were there, the ownership that they took in all the little tiny things that go into playing the game,” Wadden says. “Their intensity and focus was so razor sharp. It was a competitive atmosphere, and guys really thrived on being in that type of pressure situation.”
Trust the process
Wadden understands that changing the culture in the locker room is going to be a process, but he likes the level of competitiveness he’s seen from his squad.
“The one thing I love about these guys is that they’re super competitive and I don’t have to coach effort. It’s always there,” says Wadden.
Along with several returning players, the Blue Devils are bringing in a slew of rookies.
First-year shooting guard Ethan Merlin knows where he needs to improve because of how clear Wadden’s expectations have been.
“He’s intense, but he knows so much,” says Merlin. “He instilled the idea that we’re competing every day in practice and we’re there to make each other better. He wants me to defend and improve all aspects of my game. I’m far from a finished product.”
Sophomore guard Ilyas Kurbanov has taken it upon himself to help push his coach’s new agenda as well. He has noticed a difference in approach, compared to last season.
“Practices are a lot harder, a lot more intense and technical. There’s a lot of technicality, a lot of plays to remember, a lot of defensive assignments. Overall, it’s just a lot better, faster, and physical,” says Kurbanov.
Wadden says he is seeing full effort from his players.
“These guys have been fabulous as far as being attentive and being competitive in practice, and slowly we’re getting where we need to be,” says Wadden.
The Blue Devils’s season started last Friday, when they travelled to Moncton to take on Crandall University. They lost a close game 81-91. They have a chance to right the ship on Saturday, when they take on Dal AC in Truro.