Men’s basketball practice officially gets underway

Men%27s+basketball+practices+are+officially+underway.+Photo+Credit%3A+Tyler+Gallo

Men’s basketball practices are officially underway. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

By Ethan Morrison, Contributor

MOON TOWNSHIP– With the college basketball season quickly approaching and official practices underway over the past week, Colonial Sports Network attended Wednesday’s full team practice and was able to talk to senior forward AJ Bramah, junior guard Dante Treacy, and head coach Andy Toole.

Bramah spoke about what he needs to improve on to take his game to the next level.

“I have been trying to work on extending my range,” Bramah said. “I am trying to shoot the three a bit more.”

AJ Bramah goes up for a layup at practice. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

Bramah was very successful inside the paint last season as he led the Northeast Conference (NEC) in field-goal percentage (56.9%). He not only excelled inside the paint, but his mid-range jumper was also a contributing factor in his successful junior season.

If Bramah is able to extend his range beyond the arc and be a force in the paint and on the defensive side of the ball, he could be a dangerous player in multiple facets in the Horizon League.

Bramah also talked about the university’s recent move to the Horizon League, “The Horizon League is a huge jump as it is more physical, more athletic, and more competitive.”

RMU has had its fair share of games with teams in the Horizon League as they faced off against University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC), Cleveland State University, and Youngstown State University. It is definitely a step-up in competition, but nothing the Colonials can’t handle.

Dante Treacy had a similar answer to Bramah when discussing the challenges faced in the new conference.

Dante Treacy sets up for a shot at practice. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

“It will be better for us,” Treacy said. “It is more of a challenge and a step up that the guys are looking forward to.”

Treacy was riding a lot of momentum before the shutdown after winning the NEC Championship game against the Saint Francis Red Flash by a score of 77-67. Treacy logged 18 points while also being crowed the NEC Conference Tournament MVP. Treacy is coming off one of the best games of his career at Robert Morris and said how can he carry that momentum into this season.

“I am looking [towards] the bigger picture, [which is] that we are able to play again,” Treacy said.

Coach Andy Toole, who is entering his tenth year at the helm of Robert Morris, was happy to get back to full practices.

Head coach Andy Toole looks on as his team is involved in conditioning. Photo Credit: Tyler Gallo

“Getting back onto the court is a step in the right direction,” Toole said.

Coach Toole spoke on how he is able to keep the team focused on the task at hand with all the off the court distractions the team has faced.

“I think in some ways it actually helped us,” Toole said. “The announcement to the Horizon League helped us create a new challenge and a new motivation to go into a new league and compete just as much as in the NEC.”

Toole also said that his team has adapted well to the different rules and regulations regarding COVID-19 and that it has not affected the way the team runs practices, stressing the importance of his team following rules and protocols.

“We talked about the different ways to make smart decisions when [the team is] not in the facility,” Toole said. “We are trying to control the things that we can, but once we get in between those lines it’s pretty much business as usual.”

Coach Toole signed a multi-year contract extension on July 24th, a contract that runs through the 2025-26 season. Other than the new conference and new arena, he spoke about the quality of the program when talking about why he signed the contract.

“I have always been excited by the fact that we’ve been trying to raise the profile of our program to continue to build the brand of Robert Morris University basketball,” Toole said.

Overall, the team looked strong despite having limited workouts and practices due to COVID-19. It will be interesting to see how the team fairs in their first season in the Horizon League.

Last season the Colonials finished the year with a 20-14 overall record and 13-5 conference record in their final year in the NEC. The Colonials will be entering their first season in the Horizon League in the upcoming season that is slated to begin around Thanksgiving.