Lions hope new faces will result in success on the court for 2022-23 campaign


Troy Allen

Sophomore guard Mehdi Pissis blocks lay-up attempt of a teammate on a fast-break during practice at the University Center. (Nov. 3, 2022)

Following a successful 2021-2022 basketball season, the Southeastern Lions will look to accomplish bigger things this season. 

Last year, the Lions went 19-15 overall  with an impressive 10-1 (.714 win percentage) record at home. Their leading scorer from last season was junior guard Gus Okafor. He averaged 14.6 points per game and 6.3 rebounds per contest. 

The Baltimore, MD. native was named to the All-Southland Conference First Team and left for Wichita State during the offseason. 

The next man up was senior forward Jayln Hinton, who averaged 13.8 points per game and eight rebounds a game. 

The senior Florida Southern transfer took home Southland Conference Player of the Year for the Lions and led the league with 81 blocks for the season.

As a team, Southeastern averaged 78.7 points per contest and shot 35.7% from behind the arc; senior Ryan Burkhardt led the team in 3-point percentage with 42.9%. 

“Last year, we were unselfish offensively. We were top 25 in the country in assists, and that’s something we really push for. It’s amazing what happens when you don’t care who gets the credit, and that’s one thing we want to take from last year,” head coach David Kiefer said. 

SLU is losing their top five scorers from last season including point guard Keon Clergeot who was the team’s third leading scorer (12.9 ppg) and top assist man with over 100 dimes (104) on the season. Clergeot also was named to the All-Southland Conference Second Team.

Sixth man spark plug Joe Kasperzyk also departs the team as the senior goes back closer to home via the transfer portal to Niagara. Kasperzyk is a Connecticut native.

Going into this season, some players to look out for are guards Sam Pissis and Boogie Anderson. Both guards displayed their ability to shot-create for themselves and others. Another attribute they both share is their ability to be physical on the defensive end and play the passing lanes.

Donte Houston will also be a key contributor to this year’s team. He’s displayed a good mid-range game and finishing around the rim while providing high energy on the defensive end. 

“We’re practicing and watching film every day — we have 3 or 4 guys out right now, so we’re down to ten players. Everybody here is getting a ton of reps, and the guys are moving along quickly,” Kiefer said. 

Kiefer also noted how getting wins on the road will be a vital part of a successful season; he cited how the team will not play at home for nearly three and a half weeks. 

The Green and Gold start the year with a home game; then, they play their next five games on the road. Last season, SLU struggled on the road, posting a record of 5-11. This year, they have a chance to improve. 

“I think we’re going to be a very aggressive, defensive-minded team. We have very physical guards, and we like to bring defensive pressure against teams,” Kiefer said. 

Overall, this group of guys are well-rounded and play together as a team. As coach Kiefer said, every guy on the roster is unselfish, and they care about each other. This type of team chemistry will have to carry them throughout the season. 

The Lions’ first opponent this season will be Loyola News Orleans on Monday, Nov. 7th. Tune into ESPN+ to watch the game live and view live stats. 

Other notable non-conference games are at Xavier (Nov. 30), at Dayton (Dec. 3) and at Vanderbilt (Dec. 30).