The Seattle U Redhawks men’s basketball team has been pretty good over the past two seasons.
23 wins in 2021-22…best since the 1950’s. A WAC regular season title…first-ever in program history.
To follow that up, the Redhawks won 20 games and earned a top-4 seed to the WAC Tournament in 2022-23.
So, why do teams sleep on a very good basketball team?
Perhaps it is a notion that the Redhawks are a bit of an outlier in the league. The closest team to Seattle U is Utah Valley with a traveling distance of 868 miles. CBU in Riverside, California is just over 1,100 miles away.
Perhaps it could be that the Redhawks get overlooked in The Evergreen State. That shouldn’t come as a surprise with Gonzaga, Washington and Washington State surrounding the Redhawks.
Who knows what the reasons are? I mean, the Redhawks have a Final Four appearance under their belts. In March, 1958, Hall of Famer Elgin Baylor led the Seattle U Chieftains to the Final Four after dramatic wins over California and San Francisco.
Yes, you read that correctly…Seattle U has played in the Final Four. In fact, the then-Chieftains knocked off top-ranked Kansas State in the Final Four before ultimately losing to Kentucky in the title game.
Sure, that was 65 years ago. But, perhaps that is why it might be advisable for teams to not sleep on the Redhawks.
Chris Victor has done a remarkable job since taking over the head coaching job just a few days prior to the 2021-22 season. It helped that in each of the two seasons, the Redhawks have had a Big 3. In 2021-22, it was Darrion Trammell, Riley Grigsby and Cam Tyson. The following year, it was Grigsby, Tyson and Alex Schumacher.
Who will it be in 2022-23? Cam Tyson is back for one more run after testing the NBA Draft waters. Alex Schumacher is back after a stellar first season in the WAC. So, who will step into that third key role? Could it be Vasja Pandža? Perhaps Viktor Rajković. Or maybe, it will be one of the bigs for the Redhawks. Brandton Chatfield returns as does Seyi Reiley. Kobe Williamson is also back for Seattle U. Perhaps it could be Paris Dawson. We have seen how good the guard play has been under Chris Victor.
In the past two seasons, the Redhawks started WAC play 8-0 and 7-0.
DO NOT SLEEP ON THE REDHAWKS!
Cam Tyson has a quick trigger and can knock down a shot from anywhere on the floor. In his first season back home in the Pacific Northwest, Tyson 37.6 percent from 3-point range, averaging just over 14 points per contest. The following season, the shooting percentage was down a bit but Tyson still averaged over 18 points per game. Tyson’s 18.63 points per game was second in the WAC behind UTRGV’s Justin Johnson.
Riley Grigsby (11) and Alex Schumacher (17) were also in the top-20 in scoring in the WAC.
Can Seattle U win another WAC regular season title? The answer is yes.
Chris Victor has depth and experience in 2023-24. There are over 100 combined starts between the returners for the Redhawks. One thing Seattle U has to be cautious of is a quick start to WAC play followed by a lackluster road trip. In the past two seasons, after the quick starts to WAC play, the Redhawks have taken a two-game road trip that did not end well. In 2021-22, it was a pair of double digits losses to GCU and New Mexico State. The following year, it was a difficult trip to Sam Houston and SFA.
That same type of trip may be looming in early February when the Redhawks head to GCU and CBU after hosting GCU and UVU in the week prior.
Let’s get back to the main portion of this write-up.
43 wins in two seasons. A WAC regular season title and 2-seed at the WAC Tournament. Wins at GCU, at Utah Valley. One of the best scorers in the WAC. Really good guard play. Experienced roster.
Yes, the Redhawk Center isn’t one of the more glamorous places to play. But, it’s a true home court advantage for a good basketball team. It can lull teams to sleep with its lack of size and limited crowd. And that’s exactly what the Redhawks want to happen.
Don’t sleep on the outlier. If you do, you will continue to see just how good an already dangerous team really is.