After COVID de-railed last season, Augusta men’s basketball is ready for the Elite 8
AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - After a grueling regional in this year’s NCAA DII Tournament, Augusta University goes to Evansville as the three seed in the Elite 8.
“We’re battle-tested. We’ve played a lot of good teams and I feel like we’re ready to compete against anybody,” said junior guard Tyree Myers.
The Jags got to the Elite 8 thanks to a late three by Miguel Arnold in the Sweet 16 against #4 Queens. For Arnold, it just feels good to be back out on the court. He was one of a handful of players who had to sit out last season because of covid protocols.
“It was frustrating,” Arnold said. “Every year since I’ve been here we had a good team. Then all of a sudden covid hits. Some people can’t play and we have a terrible season.”
The Jags went 9-7 in a season that saw a lot of games canceled because of covid.
Arnold is a native of Puerto Rico. He came over to the U.S. after high school with 11 friends to pursue his dreams of college basketball. None of them spoke English.
“Me and another kid were the only ones to stay here,” he said. “None of us knew English so it was kind of hard. Some of them were just like, ‘I can’t speak English well,’ and they went home.”
Arnold’s decision to stay paid off for both him and the Jags. He’s AU’s all-time leading three-point shooter. He is also one of four players on the team--along with Myers, Troy Cracknell, and Tyshaun Crawford--to hit the 1,000 career point milestone this season.
“I didn’t even know we were all that close,” Arnold said. “When I started finding out that everybody was that close it was great. That’s what work does.”
That work has gotten the Jags within three games of a national title. Augusta takes on Chico State in the DII Elite 8 Tuesday at 9:30 pm. There will be a sendoff for the team Sunday at 10 at Christenberry Fieldhouse.
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