The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News

The independent student newspaper of Northeastern University

The Huntington News



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Doherty, Pridgen share thoughts on upcoming basketball season

Kayla Shiao
Senior forward Alexander Nwagha slams the ball into the net. Last season, Nwagha led the Huskies in blocks (22) and was tied for second in steals (20).

The Northeastern men’s basketball team graced the hardwood in a practice scrimmage Nov. 3, marking the eagerly awaited commencement of their season as they prepare to face off against Boston University Nov. 6. 

After concluding the 2022-2023 season with a 10-20 overall record and a 6-12 conference record, redshirt senior guard Joe Pridgen and graduate student forward Chris Doherty are now approaching the upcoming season with a fresh perspective.

“Last year, positivity was a big problem for us,” Pridgen said. “So this year, I think if we can be more positive, that’s going to be good for us. It’s my job to be in my teammates’ ears and give them advice at all times; we just need to keep the positivity going.”

Last season, the 6-foot-5-inch guard averaged 7.3 points per game on 39% shooting, reaching double figures six times. Despite a disappointing end to the season, falling to Delaware in overtime in the first round of the CAA tournament, Pridgen remains confident in his team’s ability to bounce back. 

“My expectation is just to win every game,” Pridgen said. “We’re trying to stay in the present and take it one game at a time. Obviously, we have a main goal of winning the championship, but we can’t do that unless we stack days. I think we can exceed these goals just by showing up every day with a positive attitude and really focusing on the details each and every day.”

Regardless of the Huskies’ struggles last season, Doherty delivered a productive performance throughout his 2022-2023 campaign, averaging 8.9 points per game on 54% shooting, leading the team with 137 rebounds (5.7 RPG) and finishing three games with 10+ boards. 

Similar to Pridgen, Doherty believes his team is poised for a far more promising season this year. 

“Just overall, I feel like we’re further along than we were last year,” Doherty said. “The new guys we got this season have come right in and collectively understand what we want to accomplish, and that is just to win.”

A pivotal cornerstone for the Huskies in this upcoming season, especially after being named the All-CAA Preseason Honorable Mention, Doherty has assumed the role of the team’s motivator. 

“It’s a long season for some of the younger guys and it can definitely drag on,” Doherty said. “So motivating the freshmen and sophomores every day to come ready to work and ready to win is what I try to do.”

In terms of motivating himself, the 6-foot-7-inch forward said he is simply “just a competitor.” 

“I just want to win; I hate losing,” Doherty said. “We haven’t won much these past few years, so that motivates me every day.”

Head coach Bill Coen believes that in addition to strong returners like Pridgen and Doherty, the versatility of his team is what will take the Huskies further than they went last year. 

Luka Sakota, a graduate student guard who transferred from Harvard University, averaged 7.1 points, 3.4 rebounds, 1.7 assists and 1.0 steals last year. While serving as team captain, Saokta earned College Sports Communicators Academic All-District his senior year. 

In addition, Bryce Johnson, a graduate student and 6-foot-6-inch forward, comes to Northeastern from Sacred Heart University. In his senior season at SHU, Johnson led the team in rebounding, averaging 8.3 rpg and was fourth on the team in scoring with 10.1 ppg. 

“We have to have two great transfers in Luka Sakota and Bryce Johnson,” Coen said. “They bring a lot of experience, toughness, and basketball IQ to the table.” 

Coen is also optimistic about two newcomers to the Huskies organization: JB Frankel and William Kermoury. 

“Both of those guys are great teammates and are learning quickly on the fly in the first couple months of college basketball,” Coen said. “They give us great ball handling and shooting from the guard position.”

Northeastern is set to play its first game of the season against Boston University Nov. 6, at 8:00 p.m.

According to the 2023-2024 CAA Men’s Basketball Preseason poll, Northeastern is ranked 7th out of the 14 conference teams, receiving 84 votes. 

With challenging opponents like Virginia, a team ranked 31st in the country according to a 2023-2024 preseason vote, and Seton Hall, a team that went 17-16 in the formidable Big East, featured in this season’s lineup, Coen asserts that, regardless of the challenging competition these teams pose, there is consistently a silver lining to be found.

“We try to put together a schedule that’s going to help us learn about ourselves and play against the very best competition and coaching staff so we can find out where our weaknesses lie,” Coen said. “We want to make sure we take those lessons into the schedule to get better and better and, hopefully, compete for a championship.”

About the Contributors
Juliette Piovoso
Juliette Piovoso, Deputy Campus Editor
Kayla Shiao
Kayla Shiao, Design Editor
Kayla Shiao (she/her) is a first-year Doctor of Pharmacy student and Design Editor. Prior to becoming Design Editor, she worked for The News as a designer, copy editor, photographer and occasional writer. She is an avid sports photographer with a love for detail and page layout.
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