SPRINGFIELD, Mo. — Just hours after ending media day, Drury announced that a men’s basketball player has tested positive for COVID-19.
The Panthers will now enter quarantine and the first five games of the season are postponed.
At the moment, that would make December 18th against Missouri S&T as the men’s opener.
The women’s basketball team is still scheduled to play at UMSL on Friday to open their season.
Drury Men’s Basketball hasn’t had a losing record since 2009.
A big part of that has been the ability to adapt to change and new challenges.
This year, however, is sure to put that to the test.
Drury Head Coach Steve Hesser: “Drury is an academic school but the one test you want to flunk is the COVID test,” Drury Head Coach Steve Hesser joked at the Panthers’ virtual media day Wednesday.
For now, though, mission accomplished with the Panthers’ season opener at Missouri-St. Louis on track for Friday at 3:30 pm.
The Panthers return nine lettermen, most notably Senior Conley Garrison who’s fresh off an all-region and all-conference season where he averaged 18.2 points per game.
They’ll also look to still relatively new faces like fellow senior Cal Hartley who transferred in last year and was 2nd in scoring with 12.9 a game, plus Sophomore Malek Davis who’s coming off a GLVC all-freshman season.
“Right now, I know Conley Garrison is going to start. Cal is going to start.. Other than that, we’ve got a lot of unknowns,” Hesser said.
As for where that group is setting the bar, Garrison is taking motivation from their neighbors on the O’Reilly court: the Lady Panthers.
“Obviously win every game like they did, that would be nice,” Garrison said. “You know, just control what we can control.”
The biggest roadblock to that goal of control will undoubtedly be the ongoing pandemic, which has already forced conference rivals SBU into quarantine and forced the Panthers/Bearcats game to be rescheduled.
“We’re going to do everything we possibly can to get games rescheduled, Drury Director of Athletics Corey Bray said.” That’s a home game for us. We definitely want to play that game. especially against SBU at home.”
Now with five games postponed, the Panthers are looking forward to whenever they are able to start playing.
“Excited to start the season,” Hesser said. “We understand that we’re going to have to stay flexible and adapt and see what happens with the way that crazy things are happening this year.”