Seattle University, the little engine that should

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On the heels of a devastating 102-64 beat-down of the Prairie View A&M Panthers, we had the opportunity to reflect on the mighty Redhawks of Seattle U basketball here in 2018. Seattle University has a storied history of NCAA basketball legacy. With 5 sweet 16 appearance, and a 1958 Final Four appearance that saw them lose in the championship to the Kentucky Wildcats, Seattle U established themselves as a power in D1 basketball. Led by Elgin Baylor, the tournaments Most Valuable Player, and a #1 draft pick, the Chieftain (as they were called at the time) were the toast of the town.

Priorities changed in the 60’s and 70’s seeing Seattle U disbanded then relegated to division 3 play. But in 2008, Seattle U picked off UW golden boy Cameron Dollar to help re-institute Seattle U in to division 1 play. The road was long and arduous and eventually Seattle U found a home in the Western Athletic Conference in 2012 where they would establish themselves as a core tenant.

Dollar would build the groundwork for what would be come the success story that is the (newly rebranded) Redhawks. In 2015 and 2016 Cameron Dollar would get Seattle U to the College Baseball Invitational. It was a valiant effort. After 8 Seasons of setting the building blocks, he was replaced by Jim Hayford.

The former Eastern Washington coach, Hayford set them on their 1st 20 win season since 2008 and put them in a return visit to the CBI. This year, Seattle U is 11-3 and will most likely eclipse last years record. They have lost to Pac12 powers Stanford and UW and even had a strange loss to Southern Utah. However, they have defeated and dominated 11 other foes—before conference play even begins.

Photo Credit: John Rainwaters, SSU

This Thursday, we had the opportunity to see our Redhawks who at one time were the equal of the bottom dwellers of Div 1, utterly annihilate the enemy. Over and over again, we had he opportunity to see Natej Kavas completely dominate atop the key with 7-9 shooting. We was Morgan Means yet again put the points on the board with 22 on 8-13 shooting. Transfer Myles Carter showed himself to be yet again the most athletic player in the WA with 9-10 shooting in the paint with 22 points.

There are big showdowns brewing, including a January 17th clash with the WAC bully New Mexico State and if you are a basketball fan, I would encourage you to take note. This is a team who beat Wazzu early this year and gave UW a run for their money. This is a team following the Gonzaga model a talent like coach Jim Hayford has the drive and ability to potentially become an influencing force in Seattle sports.

I urge you take a look at Seattle U when you can. This Saturday on the Pac12 network against Cal Berkley and in person at Connolly Center on Beacon Hill. The team is full of wizened vets like Means and Kavas and infused with transfers and international. At 11-3 they are nothing to sneeze at and potentially could find themselves in the NCAA Tourney…you should jump on this bandwagon a they put the wheels on.

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