The BJU Bruins men’s basketball team heads into its fifth season of intercollegiate competition with the first season game on Oct. 28.

Every year before the beginning of the season, the men’s basketball team goes through a week of boot camp, which includes physical and mental challenges.

BJU athletic director Neal Ring, who also serves as the head coach for the men’s basketball team, said the focus of boot camp is to bring a group of individuals together as a team.

“It’s a foundational week for us,” Ring said.

Ring said one of the team’s overall goals this season is to make each person on the team a better man. Ring said the team’s mantra is “Live Christ.”

Ring placed a special emphasis on the team’s leadership and unity.

“Leadership is going to be critical for the success we hope and pray for,” Ring said.

Ring said he is looking to team captains Marshall Riddle and Corey Turner to be the team leaders this season.

Robert Horn, who plays guard, will be the first ever chaplain for the men’s basketball team and will be a critical piece of the program, Ring said.

“I’m really excited.” Riddle said. “We have some new guys who are going to help. This may be our most talented team.”

The Bruins will play a tough schedule that will include all of their regional opponents as the team searches for the program’s first ever regional championship and appearance in an NCCAA National Tournament.

“It’s the only way to prepare for the postseason,” Ring said. “We will be well tested.”

The Bruins’ regional opponents include Pensacola Christian College, Johnson University (Florida), Piedmont International University and Toccoa Falls College.

The Bruins play each of those schools twice, and those games will have the biggest impact on the Bruins’ season.

In addition to their
NCCAA regional opponents, the Bruins’ schedule will also feature games against three NCAA teams including Furman, North Greenville and North Georgia.

Last season the Bruins defeated two of their NCAA opponents, North Georgia and USC Upstate, while on their way to a 6-0 start.

Ring said that in order to replicate that success, the Bruins must have the mindset to play well.

“It’s just a matter of taking advantage [of] when we play our best basketball,” Ring said.

The Bruins open their regular season against Asbury College at the UPike Classic Tournament in Pikeville, Kentucky, on Oct. 28.

But before their regular season begins, the men’s basketball team will be a part of some of the Homecoming Weekend events.

All of the athletes will host a meal on the evening of
Oct. 21 as an opportunity to thank current students for their support.

The team will also host a kids’ basketball clinic that weekend and will be a part of BJU’s first ever student athlete alumni reunion.

During halftime of the men’s Homecoming soccer game, BJU will recognize the members of the four original Bruins teams from 2012.