Vipers kick the season off with a road trip
Basketball is back in the Valley! The 2023-24 G League season kicks off tonight for our Rio Grande Valley Vipers. The Vipers start their season off on a three game road trip. It starts with a two game series with the Memphis Hustle and ends with a game against the Austin Spurs. It would be ideal for the Vipers to come back home with a (3-0) record. They do plan on contending for a championship this season. Vipers forward Trhae Mitchell told me, “Ultimately get back to the championship. I’ve won one here, lost one, so we’re just trying to get back there and win.” I asked him what it’s like to prepare for those kind of aspirations, “It’s a lot of mental focus, that’s what separates teams in this league, you can have all the talent, but you have to focus in on one goal and come together as a team if you ultimately want to win a championship.”
The start of the season may strike nerves in some, but not to Vipers forward Darius Days, “It’s more mental for me, just trying to be better than what I was last year and show everybody that I’m the same player that I was last year or better. For the team, just try to make a run again. You guys here in the Valley like to win so we don’t like losing out here. We’re going to have to win.” I asked him what his favorite part of his journey has been, “Proving people wrong. Showing people I’m better and the team is getting better. One day I’m going to look at this same interview and laugh. I’m excited for this journey.” Days averaged 24.4 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 1.2 steals a game as a Viper last season. He’s looking to improve on those numbers and getting back to doing what he likes the most: Proving them wrong.
I had a question on my mind for Vipers head coach Kevin Burleson. What is it like to prepare his squad for the next level while also competing for a championship? Burleson told me, “It’s always kind of different to retool and try to figure it out, but it’s fun. It’s all about coaching and I learn so much about myself…How am I going to create this situation and a great culture. It’s all fun because I’m growing up too as a coach. I’m growing just like these guys are growing.”
The Vipers come back from their three game road trip to play the Osceola Magic on Wednesday Nov. 22. Their home stretch lasts to Dec. 1. Until then we wish farewell to our Vipers as they start the season off on the road and we hope for the best as they make their way back.