The Commerce Journal

February 4, 2014

Walker optimistic about Lone Star Conference play

By Joseph Hamrick
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — After snapping a three-game losing streak at home against West Texas A&M, Texas A&M University-Commerce basketball coach Sam Walker said he is feeling good about his team’s chances in the Lone Star Conference.

The Lions are currently 13-5 overall and 2-4 in conference play.

Walker said there is an up side to each of the losses, and the team can learn from its mistakes.

“In evaluating where we are, four out of the five losses were in the last possession of the game,” he said.

Walker also noted the team needs to work on getting an early lead, as nine of the 13 wins have come from the team being behind at the start of the second half.

According to Walker, although the LSC is a tough conference, he thinks the players on his team are up for the challenge.

“There’s a lot of reasons to be optimistic,” he said. “Where we are at 13-5 is a testament to the guys we have.”

Walker said as far as room for improvement goes, the team needs to work on its defensive rebounding in order to keep a competitive edge.

“Right now we’re at the bottom of the league in rebounds,” he said, adding the team currently averages more turnovers (14.8 per game) than assists (13.9).

Walker said he trusts his team to fix those statistics, and added his supporting staff has been a huge help in getting the team to work well together.

“I have two phenomenal assistants who do a great job,” he said, naming assistant coaches Robert Taylor and Jaret von Rosenberg.

The Lions are 6-1 at home this season, and Walker said that has been in large part due to the number of fans showing up for each game.

“Our crowds have been really good at home,” he said, adding that many of the games played so far were played during the winter break, when A&M-Commerce students are not on campus. “Our community is coming out.”

When Ryan Ivey, athletic director for A&M-Commerce, was hired in January of 2013, one of his main goals was to make the student-athletes more visible in the community.

Walker said his team has taken Ivey’s goal to heart.

“As someone who’s worked in the university for more than 20 years, I’m very proud of what our student-athletes have been doing in the classroom and in the community,” he said.

The Lions’ next game is on the road against Tarleton State University in Stephenville on Saturday.