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NEWS CENTER

Basketball teams look forward to upcoming seasons

Monday, November 7, 2016

Media Contact: UT Arlington Media Relations, 817-272-2761

News Topics: sports

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The University of Texas at Arlington Mavericks men’s basketball team is the preseason favorite to win the Sun Belt Conference when the team takes the floor for the first time this season at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 12, at College Park Center.

The Lady Mavericks are picked to finish third in an extremely close balloting among Sun Belt Conference coaches.

UTA women's basketball team

In light of these preseason rankings, the UT Arlington basketball programs are raising their standards of excellence and turning heads around the nation now more than ever before.

The men’s team returns five starters, including 6-9 junior forward Kevin Hervey, who was named Preseason Player of the Year in the conference. Hervey missed the last 19 games of the season with a knee injury but nearly averaged a double-double in per game averages for points and rebounds.

UTA men's basketball team

Coaches and players from the UTA women's and men's basketball teams field questions from the press on UTA Media Day last week.

Rebekah VanDijk, a 6-5 junior center for the Lady Mavericks, was tabbed as the preseason Player of the Year in the Sun Belt Conference. She averaged 12.2 points per game and 8.9 rebounds per game to lead the Mavericks last year.

The stories of Hervey and VanDijk highlighted the 2016 media day for the teams Wednesday, Nov. 2, at College Park Center.

Head Men’s Basketball Coach Scott Cross said he’s excited about the ranking this year but is even more pumped about the culture that has emanated from this group of players.

“I love our guys. I think we have a great culture and that comes from the guys. They’re in the gym working hard. You can walk in here at 7 or 8 in the morning and you’ll see guys in the gym trying to improve their skills and abilities,” Cross said. “And you can come at 6 or 7 at night and there’s going to be guys in there working hard, so I love this group. They’re very unselfish, very tough. We pride ourselves on playing harder than the opponents, we talk about taking the stairs, not taking shortcuts and so – these guys definitely embody those traits.”

The Lady Mavericks kick off the season at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 13, against the UT San Antonio Roadrunners.

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Krista Gerlich said she’s proud of the way her team is playing but especially beams when talking about their academic prowess.

“We have so much support through our administration and academic services that we really wanted to make sure our kids understood that academics is their priority and getting that degree. That’s how we sell it when we recruit, They’re a student first. And we want them to be successful in the classroom and to make sure they get their degree while they’re here,” Gerlich said. “While we’re recruiting students we talk to them about their academics. We talk to them about the standards that we want to set and expectations that we want to set for them.”

Gerlich said because of that work, UTA was able to win the Sun Belt Conference Academic Achievement Award, which went to the highest grade point average for the women’s basketball teams in the conference.

Visit http://www.utatickets.com/ to purchase tickets to the season opening games for both squads or season tickets.

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a Carnegie “highest research activity” institution of more than 55,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System. The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UTA as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UTA fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as the top four-year college in Texas for veterans on Military Times’ 2016 Best for Vets list. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UTA rankings and recognition at www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.