CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - After going to the Final Four last season and losing their top 4 scorers, no one knew what to expect from the Queens Royals in 2018-19. In the early going, so far so good.
Queens is currently 14-2 and on a 9 game winning streak. The Royals are also ranked 13th in the nation.
What makes this start remarkable is of the 16 players on this year’s roster, 11 are brand new to the program. There is also another key factor that has made this run impressive, the lack of healthy players.
“This group has overcome a lot of injures,” said Queens head coach Bart Lundy. “They’ve missed a lot of games and have been depleted, but we’ve found ways to win.”
The top 4 scorers off of last year’s team are now all playing pro basketball including Todd Withers who is now playing meaningful minutes in the NBA G League and scoring at a high rate. Of the few returning players, Shaun Willet has stepped in and filled the leading scorers role as well as being a great rebounder.
Willet currently leads the nation in double, doubles as he has 13. He is currently averaging 18 points and 12 rebounds per game.
Of the newcomers, Van Turner Jr. is lighting it up from three point land. He is one of the best in the nation from behind the three point arc as he is shooting 49%.
As a team, the Royals currently average 87 points per game. That’s better than last year’s squad who averaged 84 points per contest.
But as the streak continues to grow and they continue to move up the rankings, the question becomes how does the roster full of new players adjust to all the increased attention as a top team in the nation.
“Complements kill,” said Lundy with a smile on his face. “They’ve done a good job with the success so far. I try to crush them a little bit when I see the complacency creep in but I expect at some point we’ll have another humbling moment but I think everyday that is the question.”
The Royals host Carson-Newman on Saturday as they look for their 10th straight win.