WACO, Texas (KTWX) Following a national championship last season and entering Coach Kim Mulkey’s 20th season as head coach, a near record number of male students tried out for the all-male squad that practices each week against the Baylor Lady Bears in preparation for fierce competition.
Lady Bears coach Mulkey started the “The Dream Team” after arriving in 2000 with the idea that recruiting male students to practice against the women’s team would be good practice for the women. (Courtesy photo)
Mulkey started the “The Dream Team” after arriving in 2000 with the idea that recruiting male students to practice against the women’s team would be good practice for the women.
The idea caught on and has grown over the seasons and on Wednesday night 28 young men turned out to vie for one of the 10 coveted spots on the team this upcoming season, second only to the 33 who tried out in 2017.
“I am very pleased with the turnout we had last night. I’m excited to have these guys on the practice floor with us soon,” said assistant coach Kaylin Rice.
“The Dream Team is a huge asset to our program.”
The Dream Team members are required to attend three practices a week with the Lady Bears Monday through Saturday ranging anywhere from two to four hours at a time.
The players, though not given stipends or scholarships, are considered NCAA student-athletes and abide by NCAA rules.
The Dream Team members play using a women’s sized basketball.
The men can jump to shoot but not when rebounding or blocking and that’s to help minimize the women’s injuries, the team says.
Rice says the members of the Dream Team play an invaluable role.
“They provide coach Mulkey the opportunity to focus on a certain area of the Lady Bears game while Dream Team can fill in as the defense, run scout team office, help facilitate drills or whatever else is needed,” Rice said.
She adds that many play for different reasons, but all share a common love of the game.
“Some just like consistently hooping, especially those who played sports in high school,” Rice said.
“It keeps them around the game. Some like the relationships that they get to build with the players, managers and coaches and most everyone loves being around such a great program and a Hall of Fame coach like Coach Mulkey.”
Several members of last year’s Dream Team traveled to Tampa, Fla., to support the Lady Bears in their national championship victory.
This year’s squad is expected to be chosen in the coming days.