LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The official move came with a click of a mouse on July 1, but July 20 marked the return to the court as a Division I basketball team for the Bellarmine Knights.
Division I rules allow for four hours of instruction per week starting this past Monday.
“I only know one way to teach the game of basketball, and that’s from a fundamental standpoint and a standpoint to play the game together,” Bellarmine head coach Scotty Davenport said. “The competition is going to be the most drastic change in all of college sports.”
Davenport and his assistants, Doug Davenport, Beau Braden, Al Davis and Scooter Galloway put five Knights through an individual instruction session on Tuesday afternoon.
“We get eight hours of instruction, four on the court, and four off the court, weight room, etcetera,” Davenport added. “Because of the pandemic that will go all the way up until the day before school starts.”
School is scheduled to start on August 20.
The Knights will compete in the ASUN conference. They will be eligible for the conference postseason tournament, but will have to wait through a five year transition period to be eligible to compete for NCAA Championships.
“The competition level definitely does step up, so everything kind of has to be intensified,” Knights junior Pedro Bradshaw said. He would know. Bradshaw played one season at NCAA Division I Eastern Kentucky. “We’re playing guys that are better, they’re bigger, stronger, quicker,” Bradshaw added.
The move up a level is far from the only change in Knights Hall. A new court greeted the players, and then there are the COVID-19 protocols.
“We’re still working as hard as we can, obviously with these masks and all, that’s probably been the biggest change,” Bellarmine sophomore Baylor Younker said.
“The school and the coaches especially, they’ve done everything they can as far as making us feel safe that this is a good environment for us to be in,” Bradshaw said.
Bellarmine is expected to play some big name Division I schools from the get go. They have faced the likes of Duke, Louisville, Cincinnati, Xavier, Indiana and Notre Dame in recent years in preseason exhibitions.
“The i’s are being dotted and t’s are being crossed,” Davenport said. “We can’t wait to announce it. The purpose of the schedule will be to establish that we have a plan. That plan involves the university, the community and recruiting. The second part of the schedule will show that we’re serious. We’re trying to play the best programs in the United States.”
That schedule is expected to be released in early August.