ST. LOUIS, Mo. (WTWO/WAWV) – Year two of the Josh Schertz era began in principle on Wednesday afternoon as the Indiana State Sycamores took part in the Missouri Valley Conference Media Day.

Head coach Josh Schertz along with veterans Cooper Neese and Cam Henry met with the beat reporters in downtown St. Louis. The Sycamores look to make a big jump in year two with a roster that’s mixed with seven returners and nine new pieces.

“The valley as you know comes down to winning close games. Last year’s team struggled with that and hopefully we learned some lessons. Painful lessons. We’ve added some more firepower. I think we are going to be much more dynamic offensively and defensively. Hopefully we will be better suited to win some of those games down the stretch and love to come back here in march and be the last team standing. That’s the goal and we are going to put everything we have into trying to do that,” Schertz said.

Added Cam Henry: “I think we have a lot of leaders on the team. A lot of vets that just like coming in and getting the grind in every day. I think that can change the outcome of a season just getting those daily deposits in,” he said.

Also taking part was senior Cooper Neese who says he enjoys playing in a challenging conference: “You take it a year at a time and as I get older, I learn to enjoy the grind and the process more and more each and every year. That only makes you want to get to the games so much quicker. You don’t want to wish time away either so,” he said.

The sycamores will open up the season with an exhibition against Tusculum on November 1st at the Hulman Center at 7 pm. Valley play begins on November 30th when conference favorite Drake visits. The MVC also features a new 20-game format as Belmont, Murray State and Illinois Chicago begin their first season in the league.