Head Coach T.J. Otzelberger continues to exercise safety with the team as they prepare to start the new season in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic. The Rebels made a commitment as a team to not go out to restaurants or public gatherings to limit the possibility of testing positive.
Going into the new season with daily updates and not knowing what’ll change with the schedule can be difficult and challenging, but with a positive attitude, they continue to train and mentally prepare themselves for what’s to come.
The full revised 2020-21 schedule has been announced with the Runnin’ Rebels starting the season off with a home game at the Thomas and Mack followed by six other games for the team to play before starting the Mountain West conference 20-game league slate, which will feature a total of 10 series.
“I understand why the league wanted to schedule it the way they did, the positive is the cost and the safety and I think the challenge of it is it’s really hard to beat someone twice on the road,” Coach Otzelberger states about the back to back away games throughout the season.
The offseason has been completely different compared to past years with the juggle of online classes and limited socializing. The Runnin’ Rebels spend their days either in the basketball building or back at their apartments, and they are taking COVID tests every other day in preparation for a strong and long season.
For being a fairly new team for the year with a lot of new players, they had to get creative when it came to team bondings over the summer by having virtual zoom calls to talk and get to know one another to maintain strong communication on and off the court.
The season will kick off with no fans allowed at the home games, and hopefully, as the season carries out the team will have the opportunity to play with a limited number of fans cheering them on from the stands.
“It’s going to be very different without fans, but we’re still grateful that we’re still able to play at this time of the moment so we’re just going to make the best of it,” Junior guard Bryce Hamilton said.
The Rebels are determined to play as many games as possible for the season and are doing everything to ensure the safety and well being of everyone in the program. The first game of the season will be held at the Thomas and Mack on Wednesday, November 25, against Montana State.