Coach Marvin Menzies Making an Early Impact: A Closer Look at the Kansas City Roos


Anderson Kopp looks to be a leader for the Roos. (Julia Kapros/RooNews)

Cristian Martinez, Sports Editor

 After an offseason of major changes, Head Coach Marvin Menzies and his staff have one goal in mind; elevate the Kansas City Roos men’s basketball team.

  “It’s time now for his program to blossom. We need to take it to the next level. That’s what we’re here to do, take it to the next level as far as the interest on campus, the interest in the community,” said Associate Head Coach Joe Esposito. 

  In the aftermath of losing to South Dakota 65-71, former Head Coach Billy Donlon announced his departure from Kansas City to continue his career at Clemson. Once he left the organization, every player from the 2021-2022 squad either graduated or entered the transfer portal. With no staff member on deck and an empty roster, Menzies had his work cut out for him. 

  After building a bare-bones staff, Menzies decided to reach out to senior guard Andeson Kopp. They connected over a nice lunch in an empty classroom.

  “A lot of his beliefs and his faith background really resonated with me, something that I was looking for as a new coach, somebody with a faith background, and so it really lined up. We talked for about an hour and a half, just about what his vision is for UMKC basketball, what my vision was, and bounce ideas off of each other. And it was one of those moments that it clicked right away,” Kopp said.

  Menzies brought back four players from Donlon’s squad, including starters in sophomore guard Timothy Barnes, redshirt junior guard Sam Martin, and senior guard Shemarri Allen.

  However, the rest of the team consists of newcomers, including multiple international players. Esposito is excited to hone such a diverse team. 

  “You got guys from Africa, guys from Germany, guys from Belgium, guys from Greece, guys from Iowa. No matter where it is, we’ve got guys from all over the place. And you see them all come together. Our team is definitely the most invested [group of] people that I have been around.”

  Players like Kopp haven’t been in a position to lead the team, as past players like Evan Gilyard II and Marvin Nesbitt Jr. served as leaders for a scrappy 2021-2022 Roos. However, coaches and players alike envision Kopp and other returners stepping up and ushering the team.  

  “So I’ve been there, I’ve had three years of college basketball fives, I have some experience. And with that comes a lot of responsibility and expectation to lead in that. So I’ve taken that role very seriously. And man, it’s just been fun to get with the young guys. Learn about them, get to know them, and then obviously go to war with them on the court.”

  In order to help build chemistry, coach Menzies and his staff have the team doing a multitude of activities. One of the biggest things done in the offseason was traveling to El Dorado State Park to complete “The Program” with Navy Seals. 

  “They walked us through some intense training and not only physical but mental training, and, man, that really bonded us together. That trip was a huge stepping stone for us to really get to know each other on a deeper level, understand our tendencies, and then also just lift each other up,” Kopp said. 

  With the amount of training, dedication, and hard work the team went through in the offseason, Kansas City Athletics is excited to see what the program has in store. 

  “It’s an exciting time to be around Kansas City Basketball. Coach Menzies has a vision for his program and has put together a roster of guys that are not only good ball players, but also quality individuals,” Kansas City Athletics Communications Director Jerod Fox said. “It’s a young team, but I think these Roos are going to catch some people off guard by mid-season.” 

  The Roos’ season begins on Nov. 2, as Kansas City faces Langston in an exhibition match at Swinney Rec. 

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