DOVER, Del. - Since taking over the program last summer, first-year Wesley Men's Basketball Head Coach Dean Burrows has made it his mission to make his team "Delaware's College Basketball Team."
The Wolverines have been the state's most successful basketball program and was labeled as the state's "Best Basketball Team" in an article by HeroSports.com earlier this year. The squad has won 95 games since 2010 and made eight straight trips to the postseason, including four NCAA Tournament appearances since 2008-09.
"We've created the marketing pitch based around 'Run 302,'" said Burrows. "Our goal is to be the best in Delaware, own our backyard on the court, and make sure that giving back to the different communities within the state is a point of emphasis."
Not only are the Wolverines getting it done on the court, the team takes pride in doing the right thing in the classroom and in the community. This season, nearly half of the roster earned at least a 3.0 GPA in the fall semester. The squad also has been active in its volunteering and community service. During the 2015-16 season, the Wesley College Men's Basketball team volunteered their time and service in all three Delaware counties, truly making themselves Delaware's College Basketball Team.
The team volunteered at Banneker Elementary School in Milford, Richardson Park Elementary School in Wilmington and with the Sussex Riptides Special Olympic Basketball team down in Lewes. Coach Burrows says that the basis of their volunteerism and the team's attitude and demeanor as a whole has been their focus on five core values: Appreciation, Enthusiasm, Heart, Humility, and Service.
"In order to become 'Delaware's College Basketball Team' we need to embody those five things," said the head coach. "They're not just words on paper or words on a shirt. We portray them in our actions and our play. We turn to them when we're facing adversity. We live them."
The Wolverines began the season with a 3-11 mark, but Burrows turned to their core values to get things turned around. "We had gotten away from what we do," said Burrows. "Then in our last 12 games of the season we started appreciating every opportunity to play, played with enthusiasm and heart and had the humility to do the little things like set screens and take charges for our teammates."
Wesley finished the year with a 7-5 mark in their final 12 contests, nearly knocking off CAC champions and Division III Final Four qualifier Christopher Newport, and earning a trip to the CAC playoffs.
More important than the wins and losses, Burrows was thrilled with the way his team embraced the core values to become more than what they were. "As a team, we put belief in the core values of this program and applied them to our approach every day whether it was at practice, in the classroom or in games. I think that is what led us to success in our second half of the season."
The Wesley Men's Basketball team is looking to continue the trend of success by focusing on their core values. "We're definitely recruiting to the values of the program," said Burrows. "There are kids out there who have the skills to be here and to put up big numbers, but if they're not willing to devote themselves to this team's values then Wesley isn't the place for them."
"Our guys have bought in," said Coach Burrows. "We take pride in the support we get from our campus and our community and our state. We take pride in demonstrating our core values both on the court and off. They don't just apply to basketball, they apply to life. That's how we're going to accomplish our goals, by adhering to those five values."