The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Men’s basketball season heats up the court

Shoulders shining with sweat, Guilford’s men’s basketball team scrambles after the ball. Noise echoes off the walls, and players pass effortlessly. Someone shoots and … does the ball go in?

You will have to see for yourself.

“I believe they will be challenging to play, come tournament time,” said junior Ryan Phillips, student assistant women’s basketball coach.

“We have a very good combination of young players and veterans,” said Athletic Director and head basketball coach Tom Palombo. “As we move forward … they will get better … we will play several freshmen.”

Palombo does not exactly have a choice, considering the team is mostly first-years.

Will this affect the team?

Rookie coach Drew Scott does not think so.

“If they make it an excuse, it’ll be an excuse,” said Scott. “But we have talented freshman.

“They’re going to make some normal freshman mistakes, but they’re also going to do some things that they do well.”

Senior forward Jake Hopkins added to Scott’s argument, along with junior guard Matt McCarthy.

“The freshmen we have are well developed and very athletic,” said Hopkins.

McCarthy concluded, “We are going to be relying on freshman to really help us out this year.

“We have a really talented freshman class.”

In spite of the number of first-years, the team was ranked fourth in Old Dominion Athletic Conference preseason polls, due in large part to returning starters, McCarthy and Hopkins.

“We learn off what they’re doing,” said first-year guard Michael Kiely.  “It’s helping everyone else get better.”

Sports Information Director and Assistant Director of Athletics Dave Walters agreed that  Hopkins is a senior captain to watch out for in the ODAC.

“Hopkins made really good progress,” said Walters. “He’s going to be able to provide some good leadership.”

McCarthy also noted that the low-post presence of sophomore center Zeb Richardson will contribute to how the season turns out.

“He had an amazing freshman year,” said McCarthy. “Hopefully he builds off that and continues to dominate.”

Rumors of former team members that left have been circulating, but assistant athletic trainer Jared Siglin said that it is not uncommon.

“Every year, there is always a large group who desire to play on the team,” said Siglin. “But during preseason conditioning and after hearing the expectations of them, (they) are not ready to make that kind of commitment.”

Quaker studies Professor Max Carter, an avid basketball fan, laments the loss of last year’s players.

“They don’t have Josh Pittman or the dominant power of the past when Ben Strong and Tyler Sanborn won awards,” said Carter. “They’ll depend on a balanced offensive and defensive effort and team chemistry.”

Overall, the team has high hopes for the 2013–14 season.

“I see a great future for this team this year,” said Hopkins.  “Even though our team is young, we have quickly developed a good bond on and off the court, which is a must when having a successful team.”

McCarthy agreed.

“I think we have the talent to compete for the ODAC championship,” said McCarthy. “The previous two years … we have had really good regular seasons, (but) disappointing tournament finishes.

“I feel this year, we could change that.”

Carter is also excited for this season to take off.

“They will make some noise in the ODAC,” said Carter.  “They have returning talent and some quality recruits.”

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