Canceled seasons, hopeful attitudes

SPU Basketball players comment on the NBA bubble and the cancellation of their season.

Mesaged Abakar and Gabe Sta Maria

Sharif Khan, senior Falcon Basketball player, celebrating the largest NBA playoff score deficit between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers during the last NBA game of the 2019-2020 season. (Courtesy of Harry Cavell)

Seattle Pacific University’s basketball season was canceled right before the 2019-2020 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball Tournament earlier this year in March. This was very disappointing news, as the team put a lot of work into getting to the tournament and completing the 2019-2020 season on a positive note.

Like the SPU season, The NBA season was postponed around the same time. The NBA announced the suspension of the 2019-20 season after Utah Jazz center Rody Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Nearly three months later, the first NBA players arrived at the bubble in Orlando, Florida to start training camp for the rest of the season.

Senior SPU Men’s Basketball player, Sharif Khan, voiced his thoughts on the suspension of the NBA season as well as his own season for SPU.

“I was pretty upset especially as a Lakers fan,” Khan said. “It was also at the same time when our SPU basketball season got canceled and everything was shutting down and it was just a tough time.”

Khan reflected on his frustration and disappointment with the SPU men’s basketball season being canceled.

“We were pretty upset especially because we were going to the national tournament,” Khan said. “There was no closure with having everyone’s season ending. It just happened so suddenly.”

Redshirt Sophomore Filip Fullerton also voiced his disappointment.

“It is not how you want to end the season because we work all season to get to the tournament, but it helps a little to know that everyone’s season got cut short,” Fullerton said.

As winter approaches, the new season still has not started. The current season is postponed until at least Jan. 7, but the team is still able to practice. The team is always split into different pods and required to wear masks during practice, making the practice different from last season.

“We can have four people practice for like an hour, right now in our pods, it’s like the guards are all in one pod, the point guards are all in one pod, and the big men are all in one pod,” said Fullerton about the current practice conditions.

While the team is still able to practice, there are ups and downs. A significant downfall for the freshmen players the lack of time to create a bond with other upperclassmen.

“I think if I was a freshman and I was going through this, it would be really tough to bond like with the older teammates. We’re doing as much as we can outside of basketball to bond with the younger players and the freshmen,” said Fullerton.

As one season is looking forward to its beginning, the NBA season ended on Sunday, Oct. 11, with the Los Angeles Lakers defeating the Miami Heat four games to two in a best of seven series.

The NBA bubble promoted an emphasized social justice message such as Black Lives Matter, as the athletes used their voices to speak out on issues that were important to them. The players acted as well by sitting out a number of games, requiring the games to be postponed during the playoffs.

The decision in particular was in response to the police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, of Jacob Blake, a 29 year old African American man. Blake was shot in the back seven times by Kenosha police officers. The Milwaukee Bucks were the first team to sit out, and many other teams in the NBA followed.

“It was cool seeing how they took the responsibility upon themselves and the owners and the league saying ‘this is what we want done’ in order to have a change and to push the initiative as an organization,” Khan said.

“I hope when or if we have a season, we get to incorporate it into our games,” said Fullerton.

Even with a disappointing ending to the season earlier this year, Khan is still hopeful and confident about going into this season going into his Senior year.

“We have a good core group coming back from last year and we’re just adding more valuable pieces,” Khan said. “We’re really confident with the skill set that we have and the chemistry we have and how far we can go this year.”