UB men’s and women’s basketball return to the court with high hopes

Sports

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The UB men and women are both back on the court for the first few practices of the year to get ready for the 2021-22 season.

The UB men had a rollercoaster of a season last year with plenty of highs and crushing lows. A late surge at the end of last season brought the Bulls back to the MAC championship game where they fell to Ohio, and then in the NIT, UB saw a two-point loss to Colorado state to end the season.

This year, the UB men have a team full of experienced players and they’re learning from the mistakes they made last year to start off the season.

“We just can’t take nothing for granted. Last year, I feel like sometimes we just were up and down, now I feel like we’re really locked in and focused, and we know what the goal is,” UB senior Ronaldo Segu said.

“We’re more focused, that’s really it. We’re more focused, we’re locked in, we’re doing everything we have to do, Coach Mangold has been putting us through it in the weight room, we’ve been going hard,” UB senior Jeenathan Williams said. “This team is very focused, and we’re ready to win.”

“I think it’s a good thing to build off of, but along with it, it’s a new year. New things come up, new challenges come up, injuries happen, and you’ve got to deal with it,” UB men’s basketball head coach Jim Whitesell said. “Players and coaches, we all need to get better. That was my message to the guys last spring, are you getting better? I gotta come back and get better too.”

The UB women are also coming off a trip back to the MAC tournament that ended in the semifinals. The Bulls return stellar guard in junior Dyaisha Fair who has racked up plenty of conference awards in her first two seasons.

The biggest addition this season, though, is the return of forward Summer Hemphill for her 6th season at UB. After a knee injury ended her senior season back in 2019, Summer only saw a little bit of action this last year as she continued to get back to full health. With a healthy Hemphill and an increasingly dominant Fair, the sky is the limit for this team.

“Personally, it’s like a different ballgame with her out there on the floor,” UB women’s basketball junior Dyaisha Fair said. “With her having the experience and her knowing what it takes to get where we want to be, it just feels better to know that we have that piece back.”

“She’s special. Everything that she does on the court, she has a different view of the game, which is very special, especially to be on the court with her as a post player,” UB women’s basketball senior Summer Hemphill said. “Knowing that she can score at her will whenever she wants to. She can read off of whatever you’re doing to make a play for you too, that’s something that not every player gets to play with, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to get to play with her.”

“I think that’s something we haven’t seen in Dyaisha’s career. For the two years Dyaisha’s been here, we haven’t had a Summer Hemphill for the entire season,” UB women’s basketball head coach Felisha Legette-Jack said. “So it’s time for us to find out what it looks like to really have a one-two punch. We’ve been having a one punch for the last couple years, and we’ve done pretty good.”

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