Mulville begins era tonight

First-year head coach Dan Mulville assesses sophomore Kevin Gustafson, seniors Ryan Burchfield and Chad Wells, and freshman Garrett Poppe as they fight for a loose rebound in a practice drill Tuesday. The Leopards begin their season tonight at 8 against the UC San Diego Tritons in La Jolla. / photo by Scott Harvey
First-year head coach Dan Mulville assesses sophomore Kevin Gustafson, seniors Ryan Burchfield and Chad Wells, and freshman Garrett Poppe as they fight for a loose rebound in a practice drill Tuesday. The Leopards begin their season tonight at 8 against the UC San Diego Tritons in La Jolla. / photo by Scott Harvey

by Damien Alarcon
Staff Writer

The University of La Verne’s men’s basketball team begins preseason play tonight at UC San Diego at 8.

Dan Mulville, who will debut as new head coach, is eagerly awaiting to see how the veteran team performs.

Last year, the squad slipped just short of a SCIAC title at the end of the season losing to Pomona-Pitzer in a championship game.

“We have a lot of returners and we were successful last year,” said Mulville, who moved from his assistant coaching position to replace Terry Boesel. “We can build on where we were last year and try to improve on that.”

The Leopards have 11 returners and nine seniors. Seniors Chad Duggins and Eric Noyes are the only returning starters. All-SCIAC selections sophomore Kevin Gustafson and senior Ryan Burchfield also return to contribute to the squad.

Other members Mulville will be looking toward is junior Cameron Chappell and sophomore Matt Alley. Junior transfer Danny Murphy, at 6’4″ and 230 pounds, is expected to make a big difference for the Leopards this season.

“Winning a conference championship is within our reach but it will be a battle. We are definitely a contender,” said Noyes, who will not play tonight because of an illness.

Although the squad is skilled and filled with experience and power, other SCIAC members are near equivalent to the Leopards.

“I think the league will be very balanced,” said Mulville. “Claremont, on paper, has probably the strongest team. They have the best recruits and the most returners. Pomona has four of the top really good guards and Cal Lutheran just always gets good players.”

Concerning the team strengths, Mulville said, “We are really good scoring and we are pretty good at pressing and playing fast but we need to get better at rebounding and half-court defense.”

Assisting Mulville as first year La Verne coaches are alumni Nick Hartman (’94) and Gabe Duran (’98).

Next week the Leopards will participate in a round-robin tournament at Cal Poly Pomona to play the Broncos and UC Riverside. The first home game is Saturday, Dec. 5, against Life Bible College.

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