WAC favorites in Grand Canyon MBB prepare for “toughest schedule we’ve ever had”

Courtesy: GCU

Never too high, never too low – especially during preseason.

The Lopes were picked by coaches as the unanimous favorites to win the WAC, expanding the already large targets on their backs.

This is familiar territory for Grand Canyon Men’s Basketball.

“It’s our program’s expectations for certain things,” star guard and WAC Preseason Player of the Year Jovan Blacksher Jr. said. “Setting high standards for myself and my teammates, and just holding each other accountable.”

Blacksher, along with Preseason All-WAC second-teamers Rayshon Harrison and Gabe McGlothan, will help head coach Bryce Drew lead the new-look Lopes.

“This is a different team for us at GCU,” McGlothan said. “We’re trying to get the most out of us. It’s really just us trying to reach down to the depths of our talent and skill and the hard work that we got and see what we could make out of it.”

With the likes of Holland Woods II and Sean Miller-Moore moving on to the G-League and transfers like Harrison and Phoenix native Josh Baker moving in – their offensive rhythm is still being figured out.

“The core of certain things will be very similar, and then obviously some of our personnel is a little bit different this year than the last couple years,” Drew said. “That may tweak some of our flow or different things that we do to try to put these guys in situations that they can be successful.”

Only one way to find out what truly works and what doesn’t.

“You get to competitive games, guys come together, and you kind of realize where your role breaks down at,” Drew said. “We have an idea but it’s not clearly defined yet.”

They’ll be trying to define that idea while facing challenges early on, as they start with a non-conference schedule that includes Nevada, Wyoming, and Wichita State.

“We probably have the toughest schedule in GCU history in the non-conference,” Drew said. “Then our conference schedule will be the toughest schedule we’ve ever had in the history of Division I.”

One thing Bryce Drew’s teams have often leaned on in their most difficult matchups is their defensive prowess.

GCU Men’s Hoops has held opponents to an average of about 61 points per game and 38% from the field in the last two seasons combined.

“We’ve been very thankful for our numbers on the defensive end, being one of the better teams in the country statistically the last couple years,” Drew said. “It needs to be an identity of our program.”

Drew’s tenure at Grand Canyon has been a dominant one thus far and this season holds high hopes that he’ll add more hardware to the program’s trophy case.

“We want to end the year on a high, not start the year on a high,” Drew said. “We have a lot of work to do.”

The work starts tomorrow as the Lopes host Eastern New Mexico in an exhibition (and costume night!) at 7:00pm.