With any new coach the trials and tribulations of adjusting are always present when coming into a program, but Head Coach Tim Cleary of the men’s basketball team seems to have settled in well at Pacific.
For Cleary, who comes from an eight-year job as Boise State’s top assistant coach, the transition from a DI school to a smaller DIII school hasn’t been a difficult one.
“It was a smooth adjustment, everyone here has been really welcoming and it’s a great community,” said Cleary.
Cleary was happy with the attitude of his players saying that although there is always an adjustment period, the team has been open to learning his new system and a great group of guys to work with. Cleary admitted that he has “long difficult practices, but it’s getting the guys used to the fast pace I want them to be at in games.”
Because of his late start, Cleary was behind on recruiting players but managed to find three recruits to add to his roster. Even so the team is made up of mostly underclassmen, with only one returning senior.
Cleary isn’t worried about that and said there is a good balance amongst the players with a solid sophomore class returning.
Player age aside, Cleary is focusing more on the game itself and bringing in a “blue colored work ethic.” With a set of goals in mind Cleary sees his team as a hardworking one, he hopes to capitalize on an element of toughness and focus on keeping play up-tempo with a fast full court game.
The fact that Pacific is a DIII school also had little affect on Cleary’s coaching outlook saying that a team’s a team, even with differences it’s all relative and he’s looking to accomplish the same thing with his players.
Cleary brings with him two assistant coaches Alex Carlson and Kyle Palmer, he says he is lucky to have them on his staff, both assistant coaches have experience coaching at the collegiate level.
Cleary said the Boxers are working to be someone to watch out for in the Northwest Conference.
The adjustment of a new coach has not only been for Cleary, but the players as well. Sole returning senior Carson Bartlett was nothing but excited to get started this season.
The Boxers’ have currently played only one preseason game, a loss to Northwest Nazarene, but Bartlett stated that the team is already showing signs of promising talent.
“We are starting to come along as a team. The season is looking promising and our team should be very fun to watch this season,” said Bartlett.
Of all the things that come with playing basketball here at Pacific Bartlett said that the relationships he has formed with his past and current teammates and coaches is his favorite part.
Right now Bartlett and the rest of the Boxers have a new relationship to build, and that’s with their new head coach.
“The team is buying into his program and he’s making believers out of all of us,” said Bartlett.
He added that the coaching staff has been very productive in their time here and all signs point to success for this season. Bartlett also mentioned that the team has laid out some preseason goals for themselves with winning the NWC as their long-term goal.
For now the team is focusing on learning the tactics that comes with having a new head coach and to be the best team that they possibly can be.
“We want to surprise people this year,” said Bartlett.
Bartlett described the team in three words: Fast, hard-working and cohesive. Add that to the senior leadership provided by veterans such as Bartlett and a head coach with Division I experience and that could be the recipe for a very successful season. With all these components coming together the Pacific Men’s Basketball team might very well surprise people indeed.