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Northwestern Today: Men’s Basketball

If you have been to a recent men’s basketball game, you may have seen a new face pacing along the sidelines, calling out plays, and teaching lessons along the way.

Vinay Patel, a native of Shamrock, Tex., received his Bachelor of Science degree in exercise and sports science from Texas Tech and his Master of Science degree in sports and exercise science from West Texas A&M University in 2007.

Patel coached at WTAMU for nine years, followed by a year at Rogers State University. The past four years, Patel held the head coaching position at Oklahoma City University.

Coming in as the new Northwestern Men’s Basketball head coach, Patel has many aspirations for his program.

“Our plans are to get better every single day. That’s going to be a key piece of the foundation that we set here. I want to build on what previous coaches have done here, but our main goal is to progress every single day. That’s as a person, a student, and an athlete. Just improve ourselves in every way possible.”

Growing the team as a whole is key when it comes to recruiting players, and Patel has high hopes for his athletes.

Earlier in the year, Patel said, “We’ll bring in about four new guys this season, but most of the players are returning from last year. One of the first things we did when we got here was to re-recruit every single one of our returners to make sure we could keep this team intact. I really like the foundation that was set here already and our hope is to build on top of that. Hopefully, the impact of the new recruits will help the guys who are already here.

“One of the biggest challenges is that this league is really tough. From top to bottom, anybody can win on any given night and that’s the awesome thing about the Great American Conference. Anyone has a shot to win or lose any given game. For us, it’s getting the right players in here to help our team to compete at a very high level and it’s been proven that it can be done here.”

“I want people to know that we’re a good team and this season is going to be different. We have a lot of leadership in older players and I think we’re going to be a force to be reckoned with,” remarked Elijah Parks, a redshirt junior in his fourth year at Northwestern. 

Support is a major necessity when it comes to competing, and the Northwestern community has shown nothing but encouragement.

“One of the main reasons I took this job was because of how much support athletics gets at Northwestern,” said Patel. “Just come out and support these guys on game night. One way to be really engaged in our program is by coming out and cheering them on when they’re doing what they love to do. Stop by our practices or my office and get to know us and be a part of our family.

“The thing that drew me to Northwestern was the people. I’ve been blown away by the support of the people in the community and the people on campus at the university. Everyone wants to see our program and every other program in the athletic department succeed and we have the resources to make that happen.”

Men’s Basketball began their season on November 8 and will conclude their season at the end of February.     

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