INDIANAPOLIS — College basketball season returns in just two weeks. At Hinkle Fieldhouse, the Butler Bulldogs are coming off a rough season, when they won just six conference games.
But there is hope.
As the team gears up for game time, there's a new energy on the court — because there's a new coach leading the way.
During this Tuesday's practice at Butler, you could feel the new energy and attitude. That's because Thad Matta is back. He coached his alma mater 21 years ago and he has high hopes to bring his school back to prominence.
"It's part of why I took the job, to see if we could do it," Matta said. "I know we have a long way to go. I'm not a fool to that, but I think by the same token, I liked the position we're in today."
The players are equally hopeful and appear excited about their new leadership and all the potential on the court with Matta leading the way.
"He brings everything, I mean, just the whole energy around the whole team, the practices...He just hypes us up," said Butler player Simas Lukosius.
The Bulldogs have a mix of young and new talent. They have four transfer players, including Eric Hunter Jr. who played at Purdue.
"We got a good chance to, you know, kind of bring Butler basketball back to what we all know it as, which is tough grinding and winning," Hunter said.
And, the Bulldogs have their leading scorer back.
Chuck Harris is expected to lead the squad as they look to turn the program around.
"I definitely think that it's gonna be a turnaround from the past few years for sure," Harris said. "We're coming off some pretty, pretty rough seasons. So, I'd definitely say, a lot more winning this year. A lot more winning."
The new journey begins as Butler opens the season Nov. 7 against New Orleans.