Spradlin, Morehead State building more success off NIT run

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Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 7:54 PM EDT
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MOREHEAD, Ky. (WYMT) - Last season, the Morehead State eagles had all the pieces for success...but couldn’t quite get there.

“We came up just short of going to back-to-back NCAA Tournaments,” said Morehead State head men’s basketball coach Preston Spradlin. “We had a tremendously talented team. Some of those guys graduated and moved on. Some of them had another year of eligibility and chose to use that somewhere else.”

After massive turnover on the Morehead state roster, Spradlin had the tall task of rebuilding.

“We didn’t sacrifice who we are and what we believe in in terms of recruiting good people,” Spradlin said. “High character kids and good kids we enjoy being around and enjoy coaching.

“This has been such a fun group to coach every day. Their attitudes, their effort, it’s just been phenomenal. We really believe that we had a really good team, and it took a while to figure out exactly how to play with this team, which is not uncommon when you have 10 new guys. So it’s very rewarding to see that we were able to maintain the level of success that we’ve had the past few years despite having a lot of new players.”

That high level of play has led to the Eagles’ first regular season conference championship in 20 years. For Spradlin, a Floyd County-native, this is just the latest chapter in bringing the Eastern Kentucky mountains more hardware...and more celebration.

“Winning is always special,” Spradlin said. “But when you can do it surrounded by people that you love and care about and bring some more recognition to the qualities that makes this a special place. It makes winning that much more rewarding.

“I’ve never lived anywhere but the state of Kentucky. We’re here in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky just like where I’m from. It’s special. It’s very special.”

When it comes down to it, the records and the trophies are all nice, but at Morehead State...NIT glory is icing on the cake.

“People look at the championships and the wins,” said Spradlin. “That’s very important. The real success stories are how did they grow up and what did they go on to do. Did they become great fathers, great husbands. Did they earn their degrees and go on to become successful because of the time they spent at Morehead state being a part of our basketball program. That’s the greatest legacy and that’s what we want to point to each day as we get a little recognition with the success we’re having.”

Morehead State will play UAB in the second round of the NIT on Sunday at 3 p.m.