Most Hawaii sports fans know that Chaminade men’s basketball holds one of the greatest upsets in college hoops history. (beating #1 ranked Virginia in 1982.) But what you may not know is this season’s Silverswords team could be one of their best yet
Chaminade is ranked 20th in the country and has been in the top 25 of the Divison II coaches poll for the last six weeks. The last time they were ranked at all was 2010. This year they’ve gotten all the way up to 12th, the best ever for the program.
“It’s really cool to get recognition for all the hard work we’ve been putting in,” said senior guard Grant Dressler, in his second year with the “swords after transferring from DI Sacramento State. “We’re preparing. And it’s good to get recognized.”
“I think it’s pretty cool,” remarked senior forward Erik Scheive who is second on the team in scoring. “Especially because this year it feels like we’re a close knit team. A lot of us hang out off the court together, on the court together. Not that the last years we haven’t done that. This teams really close together so it’s nice to see us prosper and succeed.”
The Swords leading scorer is Dressler. He’s on the national player of the year watch list and is averaging 18.8 points per game. That’s up by over eight from last season.
“He’s an incredible,” said Silverswords head coach Eric Bovaird. “(A) unique talent being 6’6 and really strong. The ability to score from all over the court. We put the ball in his hands. He posts up. He offensive rebounds. He scores it in a ton of different ways. He’s kind of our guy. We go through him with a lot of the stuff we do. If he plays well we usually look good.”
Chaminade scores a lot. They’ve broken 83 points in seven games so far. That’s not necessarily new. But what has improved this year is the defense.
“Percentage wise we’re holding teams to probably the lowest percentage in my tenure here,” said Bovaird who is in his eighth year at the helm. “So it’s something that was a major focus of ours and we work on it every single day. So I’m really happy with where our defense is at.”
“It’s tough to remain consistent for so long,” said Dressler. “And I think we’ve done a really good job of that. We’ve learned from our losses so that’s helps us in the long run and I think we’re in a good place right now.”
Chaminade will have to go through number 10 ranked conference rival Point Loma, a team they’ve already lost to this season. The Swords’ last Pac West championship was in 2014.
“We want to get back to winning championships,” said Bovaird. “We’ve been close several times. I think I have a group right now that can contend for it.”
“We want a Pac West Championship,” said Dressler. “We want a NCAA appearance and we want that championship, too. So we got big goals.”
The Silverswords aim to improve to 15-3 when they host Azusa Pacific on Monday.