Men’s season off to an optimistic start

As the temperature begins to fall and the leaves begin fall from the tree branches, the college basketball season creeps closer and closer.

For the Guilford College men’s basketball team, it cannot get here soon enough.

The Quakers have high hopes for the upcoming season after placing third in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference preseason poll with 89 points and one first place vote behind Virginia Wesleyan College and Roanoke College. Last season’s ODAC champion Lynchburg College ranked fourth.

“We have a long way to go, but I like our team,” said head coach Tom Palombo. “We approach each game with equal value. We want our team to focus on the preparation and focus it takes to be successful.”

The team had their first showcase on Wednesday, Nov. 2, when they held their “Meet the Team” game. The squad split into two separate teams, crimson and gray, led by the two assistant coaches, Ronnie Thomas and Marc Slade, respectively. Thomas’ Crimson team topped Slade’s Gray team, 61-53.

Palombo was impressed by the play of some of his younger players as well.

“We play a lot of first and second year guys, and they have a chance to really reach a high level of basketball if they continue to progress,” said Palombo.

Sophomore forward Carson Long led the gray team in scoring with 15 points. He also drained a pair of 3s and was perfect from the free throw line in only 19 minutes of play.

Junior transfer Daniel Lawson led the crimson team in scoring with 15 points while shooting 5-9 from the field. He also cashed in two 3-pointers.

“We need to work on our passing much more, but I was excited when guys got hands on tipped balls while on defense,” said Long.

As a very young team still, Palombo looks to his two seniors as leaders on the team.

“(Senior) guard Zach Houston and (senior) guard Michael Reiney are veteran guys who have been in the program for four years and understand what it takes to play basketball at Guilford College,” said Palombo. “We also have some younger guys who are starting to feel more comfortable and assuming leadership roles.”

Following the scrimmage, the players are getting even more excited for the upcoming season as well as the team’s potential.

“We have a lot of guys returning, along with talented new faces,” said sophomore guard Mahmoud Henderson. “I’m really excited for the season to begin.”

The team did struggle from the free-throw line in the scrimmage, with the crimson team shooting 42.3 percent and the gray team only shooting 37.5 percent. Last season, the team finished just over 60 percent from the line. However, Palombo remains confident in his team’s ability to take advantage of their free throws when they get them.

“I believe we will shoot free throws much better this year,” said Palombo. “We went 9-12 against CNU, which is a good percentage but was not enough attempts.”

Long mentioned the transition of first-year players to the speed of collegiate play.

“(First-years) are still getting used to the system,” said Long. “They need to slow down still. I was in their spot last year, so I know how they feel. (The first-years) are coming out of high school where they were doing everything themselves, and now they are here with a lot of great players.”

The Quakers travel to the Greensboro Coliseum on Nov. 15 for their first game of the season against cross-town rival Greensboro College.

“I’m just really excited for the start of the season and watching the development or our team,” said Palombo.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email