Lopes set to compete in NCBBA, newly-created AMBL
By: Mack Drake/GCU Staff
Size and athleticism.
Expect an explosive brand of basketball when Team White of Grand Canyon University Men’s Club Basketball takes the floor on Dec. 3 at the Canyon Activity Center for the opening game of the 2019-20 season.
Put simply, the Lopes are different this year. A foundation built on size, speed and depth has Lopes’ Head Coach Lamont Lane dreaming big heading into the new campaign. Lane believes this year’s squad has the potential to eclipse last year’s group, which enjoyed plenty of success, including trips to the National Club Basketball Association Semifinals and National Intramural & Recreational Sports Association Quarterfinal rounds.
“We’re loaded with a lot of size and athleticism,” said Lane, who helped steer the men’s club basketball team at Purdue University of Indiana to a NCBBA national title in 2017. “We had a lot of good shooting last year, but that can come and go sometimes. Size and athleticism can’t be taught, and we have that this year. We’ve put a lot of work in on the track and in the weight room. Everyone’s buying in. We’re expecting big things.”
The Lopes will field three men’s club basketball teams this year with the first and second teams, GCU White and GCU Purple, competing in the NCBBA and AMBL. Team 3, dubbed GCU Black, will compete exclusively in the AMBL, a brand-new league featuring seven teams from around the Arizona region. GCU White will treat the games as non-conference tune-ups.
The AMBL is in its first year of existence, and was designed to bring more Arizona-based schools together to avoid potential travel and schedule conflicts. Arizona Christian University, Ottawa University and Park University are among the Arizona teams competing in the league. All games will be played at GCU’s Canyon Activity Center, a 136,000-square-foot athletic facility that houses 10 full-size basketball courts and scoreboards.
NCBBA and NIRSA play is where GCU White will put most of its focus. Last year’s team had success in both leagues. Adding fuel to the fire – the NIRSA Region VI Tournament will be held at GCU’s Canyon Activity Center from Feb. 28-March 1.
“We want to have a good NCBBA season and be eligible for the national tournament,” said Lane, who was the head coach for GCU Purple last year. “We also really want to win a NIRSA title. Having the regional tournament hosted here this year definitely provides extra motivation.”
Leading the returners for GCU White is Dustin Troutt, who paced GCU Purple in scoring last year. Troutt was recognized with multiple NCBBA Player of the Week awards last season, and will make the jump to GCU White for the 2019-20 campaign.
Lane is also excited about the incoming talent. The Lopes’ inside game will be anchored by 6’7” forward Elyon Zevenbergen. A three-star recruit out of high school, Zevenbergen’s unique length will give GCU an advantage on both ends of the floor.
“We’re definitely stacking the GCU White roster this year,” Lane said. “We spread the talent among the three rosters last year, but this year we’re loading up the first team. The result is that we have a bunch of size and depth this year.”
GCU White will kick off the NCBAA season on Dec. 5 with a home game against Arizona State University. Tip-off is set for 7 pm at the Canyon Activity Center.