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NIU Men’s and Women’s Basketball ramping up for season

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — A new college basketball season is upon us. After a strong season got cut short right before the MAC conference tournament in March, the NIU men are ready to run it back in DeKalb.

"I'm excited, new season, got a great staff, have a very hard working and competitive team," said head coach Mark Montgomery. "We're definitely looking to build off of last season's success. It's year ten but it's definitely going to be challenging with the whole COVID testing."

The team graduated Eugene German last year, the program's all-time leading scorer. Before the season got shut down the Huskies had hopes of making a run in the MAC tournament.

"It was really tough last year getting that taken away from us because that was one of the better teams that we had here," said junior guard Trendon Hankerson. "Just outside of our record we had a lot of grit as a team and worked hard to achieve what we achieved and to get it all taken away not only from me but for my seniors was really tough."

On the women's side, they're coming in with a young team with seven underclassmen.

"A really fun team to coach," said head coach Lisa Carlsen. "They have a chance to leave their mark as Huskies. Young rosters develop so fast and this is an eager group, that's really exciting."

With no fans in the stands, not much will change in their mindset towards games.

"We do it everyday, we practice in an empty arena," said sophomore guard Chelby Koker. "So I think that's a good way to prepare, and bring that energy everyday to practice, we're going to have the bring that same energy to games."

Both NIU basketball programs ready to take the MAC with their pack of Huskies.

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Sam Knox

Sam joined the WREX news team in the Spring of 2020.

He graduated from Emerson College in May of 2020, just two days before moving to Rockford to take the job at WREX as a Weekend Sports Anchor/Reporter. He majored in Broadcast Journalism with a minor in Sports Communication.

Sam is originally from Sturbridge, Massachusetts, and has been an avid sports fan his whole life. He played basketball and baseball in high school, and he went on to play collegiate baseball at Emerson.

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