VIENNA - Thursday afternoon, it was off to Buffalo, N.Y., for the weekend for the Ohio Valley University men's basketball team to open the season, while the OVU women's cage squad stays home to tip off its 2013-14 campaign with 6 p.m. games both today and Saturday.
Both Fighting Scots head coaches, Mike Snell for the men and David Wadlington for the women, know the only way is up for their teams, which last season posted a combined record of just 5-51 - the men finishing 3-26 and the women coming in at 2-25.
But advancement seems to come with a price. Therefore, any progress to be made will be done as the OVU hoopsters navigate their way through a first season in the Great Midwest Athletic Conference or G-MAC for short, a more spread-out league than the Fighting Scots were used to in the old WVIAC (West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference).
Before that part of the schedule kicks in next month though, there's games to be played in the meantime starting tonight. The OVU women host UVA-Wise and then Penn State-Beaver back-to-back today and Saturday at the Snyder Activity Center, while the Fighting Scot men are in Buffalo for the Daemen College Classic today and Saturday before returning home to face Glenville State at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.
"We're still pretty young," said Snell about his 2013-14 squad. "We'll be starting several freshmen and sophomores again this season. We kind of took our lumps last year, but kind of figured we would being such a young team. Hopefully though, these guys that were freshmen who played a lot of minutes last year have grown up and they're going to do well for us this year. They definitely got a lot of playing time last year - and a lot of experience."
Snell singled out "some kids coming back who played significant minutes for us last season, and are probably the most experienced guys we have coming back."
OVU at Daemen College
Classic, today in Buffalo, N.Y.
Ohio Valley University
Game time: 6 p.m.
Place: Snyder Activity Center
Sophomore David Sinickas, a 6-4 guard, "shoots the ball pretty well and is probably our best 3-point shooter," said Snell.
Jerry Macon Jr., a 5-10 junior guard, also "played a lot for us last year until he went down with a separated shoulder, had to have surgery this summer and was actually just cleared about a week or two ago for full go," said Snell.
Povilas Dambrauskas, a 6-5 sophomore, "played a lot for us as a freshman and did a lot of the dirty work - like defending the best scorer from the other team, rebounding, diving for loose balls and that kind of thing," said Snell.
Also, Osvaldas Gaizauskas, a 6-7 junior forward, originally from Lithuania like Dambrauskas, "came off the bench for us last year and is more of a wing shooter," said Snell, while 6-1 junior Austin Parker "came off the bench as well last year and played a little bit of a combo guard for us," said Snell.
For Wadlington, his 2013-14 team "will not necessarily have the size we had in the past with losing a few post players from last year. So we've kind of had to change up our system to fit the personnel that we have, which means we're going to be a little more up-tempo, a little more guard-oriented and not just focused on post play a great deal."
To that extent, "we've brought in some kids who can shoot the ball to go with our other athletes, so it's going to a little bit different from what we've done in the past," said Wadlington.