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Retirees Association

DDN: Close bonds have helped Raiders get through difficult times

AJ Braun

Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News

Wright State’s A.J. Braun will be playing with a heavy heart at IUPUI on Thursday. The freshman center is grieving the death of his father, who passed away last week and was buried Wednesday.

But as coach Scott Nagy, whose own father died Oct. 6, can attest — and players Grant Basile, Tanner Holden, James Mann and T.J. Nagy all discovered after losing a grandparent this season — being in the Raider family means never having to go through those experiences alone.

“We’ve had a lot going on with our team, but we’re a brotherhood. That’s what we always say: Brotherhood over basketball,” Basile said.

“We just try to stick together — not do anything special, but just love on each other. It’s important to show how much we care about each other regardless of what’s going on with basketball. Basketball is a big a thing — that’s what drives us and bonds us together — but what will keep us together is our love for each other on and off the court.”

Those tight-knit relationships have helped the Raiders seize three straight Horizon League regular-season titles, and they’re in position for a fourth in a row as they near the midway point in the conference schedule.

They won seven straight games before falling at Youngstown State with a depleted roster Saturday — improving to 9-8 overall and 6-2 in the league — and Basile knows how they managed to dig themselves out of that early-season hole.

“When we were on that winning streak, defense was carrying us,” he said. “N.C. State was one of our better defensive games. That was a huge win for us. You can see in games we lost and in games we won, it all comes down to defense.”