This review wouldn't be complete without first explaining what happened to the LMU Men's Basketball Team last season. For 18 years, ever since the passing of Hank Gathers and LMU making a run to the Elite 8, the LMU Men's Basketball Team, lets just say, hasn't been up to par. After so many years of having a mediocre if not bad team, LMU decided they wanted to start rebuilding their basketball program. News broke in the Spring of 2008 that Bill Bayno would become the new head coach of the LMU Men's Basketball Team. Bayno was pretty well known in the coaching field, having coached at UNLV and took an assistant job at the Portland Trailblazers. This was an exciting time for LMU to think that we might actually have a shot at a winning team. Little did everyone know, that this dream was going to be smashed. By the second game of the season Bayno had quit as head coach due to "stress" issues. With a depleted roster due to injuries, LMU was now without a head coach and starting four freshmen. LMU ended the '08-'09 season 3-28, one of the worst records in the nation.
Going into the '09-'10 season I wasn't expecting much. We had a couple players back from injury and a few new player that were finally eligible to play this season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Off the start it was a bit rocky with a loss then a win then two more losses and another win. The team was off to a great start compared to the season before, yet something was different at this point in the season. Out of no where the team beat USC, in shock I realized something started to spark and the fans realized this wasn't the same Lions team from last year.
Coming off a huge win over USC away, LMU couldn't keep the momentum until they traveled to Notre Dame. Beating Notre Dame with a last second 3 point shot by Sophomore Jarred Dubois, the Lions went on a six game winning streak. This was amazing! A team that only won three games the season before had now won nine games and conference play hadn't even begun.
While in conference play the Lions played pretty well, somehow pulling off a win against ranked team Gonzaga at home. A huge win for the Lions with fans rushing the court. In the end LMU ended up losing to Gonzaga in the WCC Tournament yet was invited to play in the College Insiders Tournament for a post season. The LMU Lion's ended their amazing season with a loss at home to the University of the Pacific, yet as the game ended, every person in Gersten Pavilion stood up clapping in amazement at the major turn around this team had.
Overall this past season was so great for me. As a season ticket holder and huge fan, it was inspiring to me to see a team that was dragged through the trenches do as well as they did this season. Couple that with the fact that it was the twentieth anniversary of the '89-'90 LMU Men's Basketball season, brought it full circle. To see past players such as Bo Kimble showing up to games and having the 'Guru of Go" Paul Westhead at the homecoming game really brought out the true pride of the LMU fans. I truly believe that LMU made a good choice by hiring Max Good to be head coach. He was handed a mess of a team and program to turn around and so far he has done amazing. With great players such as Drew Viney and Vernon Teel leading the team I cannot wait to see what the LMU Lions have in store for next season.