BALTIMORE, Md. (WMAR) — For Tavaras Hardy, season No. 1 as a head coach is all about putting his stamp on the Greyhounds program.
So far, it's working.
"I've been pleasantly surprised with the guys feeling and seeing their growth," he said. "They're getting more used to me, used to our style of play and we're getting better. Our record doesn't show how well we're playing."
Loyola is 4-7 under Hardy. He replaced G.G. Smith as Hounds Head Coach. Players say they've seen a change in the team.
"We're just more of a family this year," said junior guard Andrew Kostecka. "Not a knock on last year's coaches, but everyone's bought in this year. We're all together."
"We have great relationships - everybody - the players and the coaches," added junior guard Chuck Champion. "We talk to each other a lot more."
And they're talking about proving the Patriot League prognosticators wrong.
Loyola was picked to finish last in the conference. Needless to say, they don't think that'll be the case.
"We're way better than last place. I don't think that will be true," said Champion.
"They know we're better than that," said Hardy. "They're looking forward to getting out and showing."
The Dogs' leader this year is Kostecka, who is having a breakout season. He has set career-highs in scoring three times in the last month and is second in the conference scoring 19.5 points per game.
"I got to thank the team. They find when I'm open and I just got to keep knocking down shots," he said. "Junior year, it was important to me this season to play hard and whatever happens happens. Luckily I'm playing well."
"He can do a lot of different things. He can shoot it. He can put it on the floor. He generates a lot of points himself just through his activity and energy defensively," said Hardy.
Two more games remain for the Greyhounds in 2018. They close out their non-conference schedule on the road at UMass-Lowell on Friday and at N.C. State on Dec. 28.