Our expectations around here are to win every game and to win the Big Sky championship this year. We keep coming up short, but we've got to make it this year. —Davion Berry, Weber State basketball player
OGDEN — Even though they're coming off two straight impressive seasons, including a record-breaking 30-win campaign last year, the Weber State Wildcats still have a bad taste in their mouths.
"We had a couple mental things in both of those championship games that let us down a little bit," said senior center Kyle Tresnak of losing the Big Sky tournament title games in 2012 and 2013. "We are tired of being second. That's all we can really say. We've come into this preseason thinking there is no more second place. I've been let down a lot and I'm not looking to be let down anymore."
Weber State is coming off one of its most memorable seasons in school and Big Sky history. The Wildcats' 30 wins set a school and conference record, as they finished 30-7 overall and 18-2 during the regular season.
The purple and white also reached the championship game of the CollegeInsider.com tournament, becoming the first team in Big Sky history to reach the championship game of a national postseason tournament.
Despite all the success last season, the Wildcats weren't quite good enough to be crowned conference champs. WSU advanced to the Big Sky championship game for the third time in the last four years, but fell to Montana, 67-64.
"We always self-evaluate after the season. Offensively, I was really happy with how we performed (last season). We led the country in field goal percentage and in 3-point percentage, so we really don't need to change much there," said head coach Randy Rahe. Defensively, I feel like we need to improve a secondary defense. We were primarily a man-to-man team last year, and I was really happy with how we played, but we figured out we need to have a secondary defense that we can rely on."
Despite losing seniors Scott Bamforth and Frank Otis, the 'Cats have several key contributors returning this season. With seven lettermen returning, including three starters, Weber State is hopeful of capturing a Big Sky championship this year.
"Our expectations around here are to win every game and to win the Big Sky championship this year," said senior Davion Berry. "We keep coming up short, but we've got to make it this year."
WSU is expecting big things from seniors Berry (who led the team in several offensive categories last season), Tresnak and Jordan Richardson. Sophomore forward Joel Bolomboy, who had a breakout season last year, juniors Royce Williams and James Hajek, and senior forward Byron Fulton are also expected to be key contributors.
"We're feeling hungry. I mean, we haven't done anything yet, so we can't get ahead of ourselves," Berry added. "We are just a young team that is excited to play this year."
Weber State will hold its annual purple and white scrimmage Wednesday, Oct. 23.
Ryan Love is a full-time student at the University of Utah studying communications, and has been a part-time sports reporter and scoreboarder for the Deseret News since Oct. 2012.
Follow him on Twitter @RLove7724