Ogden • Weber State senior center Kyle Tresnak didn’t think twice when asked about the Wildcats’ goals for the coming basketball season.
“We’re tired of being second,” he said. “… We spent the summer and we came in [this fall] thinking, ‘No more second place.’ ”
Nobody can blame Tresnak.
The Wildcats have won 55 games over the last two seasons and gone 32-4 in the Big Sky Conference. But they don’t have a league title or an NCAA Tournament bid to show for it.
“On one hand, the kids have had terrific seasons the last couple of years,” coach Randy Rahe said Wednesday afternoon. “We’ve just been one game short and that sticks in your craw.
“We remind our kids of it all the time. … I’ve told [them], ‘If that can’t motivate you to get your butt out here every day, improve yourself and improve your team, I don’t know what will.’ ”
Weber State opens preseason practice Friday, with their opener scheduled Nov. 8 at BYU.
The Wildcats return three starters, including senior guards Davion Berry and Jordan Richardson, along with Tresnak. Berry averaged a team-leading 15.2 points last season.
“Expectations around here are to try and win every game and … win the Big Sky Conference championship,” he said. “We keep coming up short. We have to do it his year. We feel hungry.”
Weber State faces a difficult schedule, which includes only four non-conference home games, including a visit from Utah State on Nov. 26.
In addition to BYU, the Wildcats play road games at UCLA, Colorado State and Texas-Arlington.
“It’s probably the toughest schedule we’ve had since I’ve been here — top to bottom — and I did it on purpose,” said Rahe. “I mean, we can’t get home games, so we can either go on the road and play a mid-major school or a really quality program. I’ve always believed we need to play quality — the best teams.”
By the time Weber opens Big Sky play on Jan. 2 against Eastern Washington, Rahe believes they will be ready to make another strong run for the title that has eluded them the last two seasons.
“I don’t worry about a won-loss record in the preseason,” Rahe said. “I worry about how much better we’re getting on a daily basis and those games we’re going to play will make us better. … You can’t win big if you’re afraid to lose big. So we’ll see what happens.”
Weber State quick facts
O Coach • Randy Rahe (eighth season)
Record • 150-75 overall, 92-24 in the Big Sky
Last season • 30-7, 18-2
Key Losses • G/F Scott Bamforth (14.0 ppg), Frank Otis (8.9 ppg), G Gelan Wheelwright (6.3 ppg)
Key returrnees • G Davion Berry (15.2 ppg), C Kyle Tresnak (11.5 ppg), G Jordan Richardson (7.2 ppg), F Joel Bolomboy (7.0 ppg)
Top newcomers • G Richaud Gittens, G Jeremy Senglin
O Weber State at BYU
Nov. 8, 7 p.m.