Winning four games in a row and moving above .500, the Roos are in the zone. The five players on the court and Coach Kareem Richardson are synced on defense, causing 17.25 turnovers in these four contests.
This is a new team to watch, but not too long ago, Roos basketball was down and out. The dismissal of Martez Harrison shook the program and distracted the team.
“When we had our lull there and had our dismissal, we had to reinvent our team with guys stepping up on a communication [and] leadership standpoint,” said Richardson.
The keys to the Roos’ success is a combination of things Richardson pointed out. Defense, offensive chemistry, communication, and leadership are just some of those factors. It’s easy to say, ‘something is going on at Municipal Auditorium – you should come find out.’
Kyle Steward has to be eating a special version of Wheaties in the morning only approved for ballers. The team supplies the bowl, spoon and then leaves him alone to do the rest.
“I just want to go out and play hard,” said Steward. “This is my last year, last go around. I’m putting everything I got into it.”
He has recorded his third game in a row with 20 points and in two of those games he had a double-double, with points and rebounds. He’s a threat wherever he is on the court and if a team decided they needed to double-team him, their mistake would be in overlooking LaVell “Pep” Boyd.
Boyd is fourth in scoring in the WAC, averaging 17.9 per game. He scored 13 points in the team’s most recent win, but again led the team in assists.
Back in 2016, against UT Martin, Boyd scored a career-high 32 points, but the team lost by 11. In a post-game interview, he was quick to point out that setting personal records was second to the team winning.
“I continue to have confidence that my teammates are going to make open shots,” said Boyd after playing UT Martin.
Against Seattle, Richardson put five seniors out on the court to start the game: Boyd, Steward, Dashawn King, Broderick Newbill and Darnell Tillman. Before the Roos’ first substitute, Kansas City basketball had an 11-5 lead with a Tillman slam dunk to bring the home crowd to their feet.
The tone was set. The Roos led the game 39 out of 40 minutes and went on to win, 102-72.
“We were really trying to challenge the guys and get a weekend sweep,” said Richardson.
The young guys aren’t sitting idly by. When they get in the game they have a job to do. Freshman guards Isaiah Ross put up 16 points and Xavier Bishop 13 points against Seattle.
The current unsung hero on the stat sheet is Broderick Robinson. When the ball is flowing from Roo-to-Roo, Robinson seems to always know when he’s due to make a 3-pointer. Besides doing the job on offense, he is a lead antagonist when the Roos are on defense.
The environment at Municipal Auditorium on Saturday was the best this year, with an attendance of 1,788. Late in the game, a group of “young guys behind the stands began causing havoc on the free-throws” said Richardson. The pre-teens distracted shooters by yelling and spinning their shirts around their heads like a helicopter. The crowd was having as much fun as the Roos were having playing the game.
The last time to see the Roos play at Municipal will be this Saturday when men’s and women’s basketball take on Chicago State in a doubleheader. The action begins with the women’s game at 2 p.m. followed by the men at 5.