Men’s and women’s basketball tip off for the season


Polly Rittenberg

For most of us, setting the alarm clock for 7 a.m. seems ridiculous and out of the question. But the men and women’s basketball teams don’t think twice about it during preseason workouts.
Even though preseason has ended for both teams, the aches, pains and ice baths have only just begun. This season, the women’s team will fight for a repeat of last season’s Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship, while the men’s team works hard to achieve their highest level of potential.
The women’s basketball team has welcomed a new assistant coach this year, Mercedes Van Wagner, as well as junior Ryan Phillips, who is the new student assistant coach. Also joining the team is Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach Reggie Hines, who helps the team out by working with the guards.
“It’s been an easy and smooth transition here to Guilford so far,” said Van Wagner. “The girls have been working hard so far, and we are all excited for the season.”
“When I decided to stop playing basketball, I got an opportunity to help assist the women’s team,” said Phillips. “My role is helping out with player development, bringing energy to practice, and completing some behind-the-scenes tasks.”
Former basketball player Will Cloyd’12 has joined the coaching staff as head coach of the B team — also known as the junior varsity team — and assisting in duties for Head Basketball Coach Tom Palombo and Assistant Basketball Coach Caleb Kimbrough.
“My role consists of ordering food for games and referees, recording stats, film exchange and making things easier for everybody else,” said Cloyd. “You can’t have a good team that’s not well-fed or organized.”
Winning last season’s ODAC championship has put the women’s team in the spotlight. (Last year’s) Top scorer Jazlyn Gibbs graduated so the team leans on their 11 returners to make up for the loss.
“I want to continue to put them in a situation where they have the opportunity to win,” said Head Women’s Basketball Coach Stephanie Flamini. “Gibbs took a lot of shots last year. This year will open up the opportunity for players to take more shots and shine.”
An ODAC championship is always in mind for any coach here at Guilford, but the men’s team has other goals they wish to meet first.
“We want to try to achieve our highest level of potential that we are capable of playing,” said Palombo. “Of course we want to win the ODAC, but that’s something that happens after you have achieved your goals.”
With excitement brewing and only a few weeks into practices, both teams are ready to storm the court and make this season the best one yet.
“I’m really excited to see how all the things we’ve been working on in practice all come
together,” said junior guard Kayla Adams. “I love spending time with this team because we always have such a great time when we’re together.”
“We didn’t end the season the way we wanted to last year,” said sophomore forward Will Freeman. “We are all excited and looking forward to redeeming ourselves.”
With anxiousness consuming the coaches and players, you could only imagine how the fans must be feeling.
“I am very excited for the basketball games to start,” said senior Kyle Ennis. “I love watching the women’s team because they have great communication between one another. They go out onto that hardwood court floor and take falls that people don’t expect them to take.”
“I am beyond excited and pumped for basketball season to start up,” said sophomore Eddie Praley. “I thank Dr. James Naismith every day for inventing the sport of basketball.”