Rivier men’s basketball hits the hardwood early

Coach Bisson eager to work after shedding interim label

NASHUA — The balls began bouncing early on Saturday over at Rivier University’s Muldoon Center.

Try 7 a.m. early

"I got them going after it early in the morning," Raiders men’s basketball coach Lance Bisson said.

Saturday, you see, was the first day NCAA Divi­sion III teams could begin practicing for the 2016-17 season. Daniel Webster also started their practic­es as well, gearing up for the final season in school history.

But for Bisson, the for­mer Nashua High School North and Rivier stand­out, Saturday marked the first day he addressed the players with the "interim" tag removed from his title. Also a former Raider as­sistant, he took over last December after longtime coach Dave Morissette resigned to devote more time to his family in Ex­eter.

"It felt great," Bisson said. "I now able to put my plan in place, some­thing I’d been planning for awhile for whenever the day came that I’d be a head coach. This was a chance to put my pre­season plan in place, able to do things my way. It was energizing to see the re­spect the players have for me as their (permanent) leader."

Bisson played on the Raiders’ only NCAA tourney team as its point guard in 2007, and he knows what Division III athletes go through.

"I know being a for­mer D-III athlete what it takes," he said. "I know the NCAA restrictions and what they’re able to do under my supervision or what I can tell them (in the off-season).

So Bisson put together a workout regimen for the players and was pleased that they looked as if they had followed it. "I know the culture I want to cre­ate," he said, "with the commitment level being consistent."

While DWC coach Don­ald Morris, Jr. has a ros­ter in the 20s, Bisson has a small number this year of just 12.

"We were hoping to have a couple more but we had some players who had to deal with some things in the off-season and aren’t able to play," Bisson said. "But we’ve got a solid base of 10 guys who will definitely make an impact."

The Raiders will be looking to improve on back-to-back 4-21 sea­sons.