FOLLOWING a season of constant COVID-19 interruptions and no crowd support it's looking like the next season of basketball for Will Cranston-Lown in the United States will be a whole new beast.
Bathurst's Cranston-Lown and his Regis University Rangers side missed out on five games last season due to the virus and didn't have the opportunity to enjoy home crowd support but that's set to change in 2021-22.
The lead up to Cranston-Lown's junior (year three) season at the Colorado university, starting in November, has been a positive one thanks to some exciting new faces joining the side and also due to the team having the chance to train effectively.
"The atmosphere last year was different with no crowds, it was hard to feed off energy with just 15 guys in one gym, but crowds and the atmosphere will be back to normal this year with no restrictions," Cranston-Lown said.
"Off the court life is back to normal, we're going out to breakfast together as a team, playing golf in our own time and enjoying life as it gets back to normal.
"They're all things we didn't do last year."
It's a relatively young side taking to the court for the Rangers in their NCAA Division II campaign this season, featuring just one senior and a couple of graduate students.
Cranston-Lown said the build-up towards the new season has been encouraging.
"This is the most pre-season work our team has put in since I've been here," he said.
"We have been doing three workouts a day of conditioning, team or individual practices and weights.
"Our bodies have changed dramatically since beginning practices and we are looking really fit and strong."
Cranston-Lown has experienced two very different seasons of Rangers basketball.
In his freshman year the team went 17-12 across their campaign and finished eighth on the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference standings, sending them through to the conference tournament.
The sophomore season for Cranston-Lown was a tough one with a new-look side and they went 6-10 in their campaign.
Cranston-Lown missed six of those matches due to injury.
The Bathurst guard was still the third highest scorer for his side across the season and sunk a new career high individual game of 22 points.
There's been more changes made to the team this year but Cranston-Lown said the team has come together really well in the pre-season.
"Half of our team this year is new, some being freshmen and others being older transfers," he said.
"We have a good mix of ages this year and it will help out our younger guys quicker."
The first match of the season for Regis University will be on November 9 away to the University of Denver.
Following an eight game stretch to start the season the Rangers will then play their first Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference game of the campaign away to the Colorado School of Mines.
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