Brandeis Men’s Basketball finished their 2021-22 season with a 6-7 University Athletic Association record and a 15-9 record overall. They were on the bubble for the 2022 Division III National Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament but just missed out on being selected. After the season, some of the Judges’ stars — including Collin Sawyer, Chandler Jones, Nolan Hagerty, Austin Clamage, Sam Nassar, and Tommy Eastman — graduated from Brandeis, marking the end of an era for the men’s basketball team. To gain insights on what the new season might look like in the Auerbach Arena, the Justice interviewed two members of the team about their approach to the new season.  

“We’re very new this year,” Ethan Edwards ’26, a promising young guard who was redshirted last season, commented. There are seven first-year players on the 16-man team, who have been working together since the beginning of the semester. Edwards gave his thoughts on their preseason: “I feel like the first couple practices were just like adjustments and trying to figure out some things.” First-year forward Quron Zene shared that the team has been playing pickups as soon as they came back on campus. “Everyone has a chip on their shoulder,” Zene talked about the team’s preseason atmosphere. “We have the opportunity to do something very special because of our chemistry.” Both Edwards and Zene had a meaningful summer before the season. Edwards stayed on campus to sharpen his skills while Zene recovered from a hamstring injury and got ready for college basketball, both physically and mentally. 

When asked about what adjustments need to be made, Edwards mentioned how Head Coach Jean Bain emphasized “patience” as the key to success during practices. “We have to keep attacking [every practice, every game, every film session] day by day,” Edwards said. At the same time, Zene forecasted a different style of Judges Men’s Basketball: “We are going to go up and down the court, press up on defense, get a lot of steals, and go on transitions, ‘cause we are more athletic than last year’s team.” With a large number of young players on the roster, fans can expect a very energetic playing style and all-out efforts from the Judges. 

A couple weeks ago, former Associate Head Coach Sean Tabb and Assistant Coach Sam Rubenstein left the University for other roles and opportunities. Edwards paid tribute to the coaches: "They taught us how to be the best version of ourselves on and off the basketball court…and what it truly means to be a Brandeis student athlete, how to play hard and be a professional." For Zene, Coach Tabb was like a part of his family. “We talk mostly every day…When he would call my phone, it would not be about basketball. It is always about how I am doing, how is life going, how is my family…” Coach Tabb joined the basketball program in the 2013-14 season and was named a New England Basketball Hall Of-Famer in 2015. Coach Rubinstein had helped the Judges Men’s Basketball in various aspects, while also serving as the director for the Judges Leadership Academy, the athletic department's student-athlete development program. The Judges recently welcomed Coach David Feinstein, with previous experiences at Quinnipiac University and Boston University, as the new assistant coach of the team. 

In the interview, Edwards and Zene disclosed that the Judges Men’s Basketball is ranked seventh in the conference according to an UAA preseason poll, but this does not affect their fighting spirit. "The ultimate goal is always to win the championship,” Zene declared. Edwards chimed in and added, “We just want to prove ourselves. We have got nothing to lose.” In the face of doubts, the Judges could definitely use some support and home court advantage in the upcoming season. “We are going to every game being the underdog most of the time,” Edwards promised the Brandeis community that they will witness “a team that’s going to play hard with effort, put on a show, and bring appreciation to the Brandeis name.” Zene echoed, “We are going to play hard every night, and obviously we are going to win as many games as we can. You don’t want to miss out on that!” There are countless inspirational stories of underdogs leaving critics stunned in the basketball world. The Judges will strive to join the collection!  

The Judges Men’s Basketball will begin their season in the Auerbach Arena by hosting the Salem State Vikings on Wednesday, Nov. 9. The young squad led by captains Terell Brown ’23 and David Perez-Miralles ’24 looks forward to proving themselves against the odds in the upcoming 2022-23 basketball season.