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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

    New faces in men’s basketball find community on the team

    Texas+State+junior+guard+Brandon+Davis+receives+instruction+from+assistant+coach+Donte+Mathis%2C+during+the+first+public+mens+basketball+practice%2C+Friday%2C+Oct.+21%2C+2022%2C+at+Strahan+Arena.

    Texas State junior guard Brandon Davis receives instruction from assistant coach Donte Mathis, during the first public men’s basketball practice, Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, at Strahan Arena.

    With the 2022-2023 college basketball season approaching, the Texas State men’s basketball team has added a few new faces as it looks to earn its third Sun Belt Conference title in as many years.
    Freshmen Jordan Mason and Davion Sykes, along with junior transfer Brandon Davis, are three of those new faces. Each of them has begun a new chapter in their life at Texas State and as with anything new, it’s taken some getting used to. 
    Head coach Terrence Johnson knows that transition can be hard for his players. Not only is this a new experience for them, but it is also their first time living away from home. Johnson said that he makes it a point to ensure that each of his new guys knows that someone has their back. 
    “The first thing that we do is we let them know that we’re here for them,” Johnson said. “We’re their basketball family and we know that they’re away from home so we encourage them to lean on us for anything they need.”
    Sykes and Mason are just beginning their college basketball career as freshmen. That means they’re not only adjusting to a higher level of sport but a higher level of education as well. 
    “It’s been a little tough adapting to taking classes and going to practice and practice being longer than it’s ever been for me,” Mason said. “Time management has been something that I’ve never really had to do like that.”
    Both Sykes and Mason received offers from different schools during their recruitment process but ultimately chose to come to Texas State because of its track record of success. 
    “For me, it was extremely close because all the schools had everything I kind of wanted and it was just about who I trust and where I fit in,” Sykes said. “I want to win and this school really topped all the other schools [because] of their success.” 
    Sykes, born in Duncanville, Texas, is the son of Texas State alumnus David Sykes, who holds the men’s basketball team record for career steals with 192. 
    Sykes said he appreciates his father’s legacy but wants to make his own mark on the program. The 6-foot-6-inch forward knows that may take time, so for now, he’s stepping up when he can. 
    “To really be a leader you have to understand what’s going on at all times and I mean, just being new, I don’t understand all the drills and concepts like that,” Sykes said. “But when it comes to encouraging my teammates, I’m pretty vocal.”
    Davis, a junior guard hailing from LaPlace, Lousiana, is the oldest addition to the team. Davis is coming off a National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics national championship he helped win for Loyola University in New Orleans. The transfer said his time at Loyola taught him what matters most and that he is looking to continue doing that at Texas State. 
    “Winning,” Davis said. “Focusing on winning games and not individual stats and performances. Just winning in general because when you win, everybody wins. It’s important to stay confident and have fun throughout the process.”
    That selfless mentality is something Johnson looks for in every player he recruits and he’s been happy to see those qualities exemplified in Davis, Sykes and Mason.
    “I love their approach to being willing,” Johnson said. “These guys are willing to contribute in any kind of way there is be it defense, rebounding or knocking down shots. It’s important to be willing to do whatever the team needs at that time, come in with a great attitude every day, and work hard. These three guys do that.” 
    Being able to put the group before themselves is something that is important to Johnson, and he knows that comes naturally when everyone is close. Johnson said he wants his guys to think of themselves as something more than just a team. 
    “I try to teach these guys that these relationships are ones that can last not just four years, but 40 years,” Johnson said. “Often times this is regarded as the hardest thing you’ve had to do as an 18 to 23-year-old and when you do hard things with people, it creates a bond through shared adversity. I encourage them to lean on each other and have that ‘we’re all we got’ mentality.”
    Davis appreciates the family environment his coach has created, and even though Johnson can be hard on him at times, he knows that his coach only wants the best. 
    “On the court, he pushes me and criticizes me because he wants me to succeed,” Davis said. “I think that’s how it’s supposed to be, the coach is supposed to get on you when they have high standards of you.”
    Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article incorrectly stated the classifications of freshman Jordan Mason and junior Brandon Davis. This mistake has been corrected. 

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