By Jordan Boitnott
After a long wait, the Horizon League announced the league schedule for the Youngstown State men’s basketball team Nov. 4. The season was initially planned to start Nov. 27 at home against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, until a positive COVID-19 test derailed plans Monday.
According to YSUSports, “a member of the men’s basketball inner bubble tested positive for COVID-19.”
Jerrod Calhoun, YSU men’s basketball head coach, said the team needs to focus on staying healthy during the pandemic.
“The bottom line is, you have to be healthy. It is very, very challenging to play right now. With one positive coronavirus test, our entire group is out for two weeks. We could miss up to four games at a time,” he said. “We’ve got to do everything in our power to stay safe and make sure we are following the state guidelines. I’m just hoping and praying we have a season this year.”
The team was already preparing for a tough start, but now the start is delayed even further, and it will have to push through even more adversity. Calhoun said the way the schedule is set will make things very tough starting out.
This led to all team activities being shut down until after Nov. 29. Due to the current circumstances, it’s more than likely the men will have to open up their season on the road against 15th-ranked West Virginia University.
“Our league schedule is very difficult. We start eight of our first 10 games on the road. The biggest thing we are going to have to do is understand that we’re going to be traveling in the midst of this pandemic,” he said. “We’re going to have to do an unbelievable job with sanitizing, fogging and wearing our masks.”
In a Horizon League press release, the league announced the special format of the season.
“Teams will play one league opponent twice each week with games taking place on consecutive days at the same location. Schools will have five home weekends and five road weekends and will play 10 of 11 league opponents,” the league said.
Despite the added difficulty, Calhoun has high hopes for the season.
“This has been a three-year process. We envisioned that we would just continue to take steps up the ladder. We’ve certainly done that in the Horizon League. You saw that last year,” he said. “We’re excited about this year. I think it is only fitting for our seniors that have endured so much over the last three years. You know, I told them the other day this is something they can handle. They are ready for it. This group will adapt.”
It helps having two All-Horizon League players on the roster. Junior guard and sports broadcasting major Darius Quisenberry was named to the preseason first team, along with senior forward and business major, Naz Bohannon, who was named to the second team.
Calhoun said Bohannon developed on and off the court.
“Naz came in the first year I got hired— part of our first recruiting class. A local guy from Cleveland. He’s just gotten better and better,” he said. “He’s developed not only on the floor, but off the floor he’s become a great young man.”
Calhoun also praised Quisenberry’s ability to get buckets.
“He’s just a dynamic point guard that can really score. He has a knack for scoring the ball,” he said.
Once the team is healthy it will have to play a lot of games in a short amount of time.
DECEMBER 2 @ 15 WEST VIRGINIA
DECEMBER 19 @ NORTHERN KENTUCKY
DECEMBER 20 @ NORTHERN KENTUCKY
DECEMBER 26 @ CLEVELAND STATE
DECEMBER 27 @ CLEVELAND STATE
JANUARY 1 VS. GREEN BAY
JANUARY 2 VS. GREEN BAY
JANUARY 8 @ WRIGHT STATE
JANUARY 9 @ WRIGHT STATE
JANUARY 15 @ OAKLAND
JANUARY 16 @ OAKLAND
JANUARY 22 VS. UIC
JANUARY 23 VS. UIC
JANUARY 29 VS. DETROIT MERCY
JANUARY 30 VS. DETROIT MERCY
FEBRUARY 5 @ ROBERT MORRIS
FEBRUARY 6 @ ROBERT MORRIS
FEBRUARY 12 VS. PURDUE FORT WAYNE
FEBRUARY 13 VS. PURDUE FORT WAYNE
FEBRUARY 19 VS. IUPUI
FEBRUARY 20 VS. IUPUI