Momentum can be a powerful thing to break.
For the Grand Canyon men’s basketball team they’re hoping to pick up next winter where they left off this spring. The Lopes finished 27-7 and advanced to the quarter finals of the Collegeinsider.com Postseason Tournament. Their 2015-16 resume included wins over San Diego State, New Mexico State, Houston and Marshall.
Not bad for a program who is still another two years away from being eligible for the NCAA Tournament following their transition to Division I.
Head coach Dan Majerle, the architect behind much of GCU’s success, hasn’t slowed down since taking over the program in the spring of 2013.
— WAC (@WACSports) March 30, 2016
“He loves his job,” Valley icon and GCU ambassador Jerry Colangelo told Sports360AZ.com’s Brad Cesmat in a phone interview Wednesday morning of Majerle. “He loves teaching and coaching.”
Despite their “mid-major” affiliation in the Western Athletic Conference Majerle and GCU have never shied away from going toe-to-toe with college basketball’s heavyweights. They’ve traveled to Kentucky, Indiana and this season Louisville. Next year’s non-conference slate will be the Lopes’ most challenging to date.
“An incredible schedule when you look at Duke, Illinois, Penn State, Arizona,” Colangelo rattled off to Cesmat. “I don’t know if I said Louisville. Think about those games for non-conference games.”
The agenda is focused and well-thought out: “play up” in competition so when the Lopes do become eligible in 2018 they’ll be prepared for the type of teams they could face in March Madness.
With Majerle’s success comes rumors of his name being linked to other schools, most recently UNLV.
Colangelo knows sometimes being the hunted, not the hunter is part of the business both on and off the floor.
“Dan Majerle will make his own decision at the appropriate time,” he said. “It’s all about making him feel appreciated, comfortable–giving him the tools to truly compete.”
Colangelo, President Brian Mueller, Athletic Director Mike Vaught and others have certainly checked all of those boxes.
The future appears brighter than ever for GCU basketball.