Basketball brings in towering first-year class


unior Carson Long shoots from almost the three-point line during their NCAA basketball tournament at Marietta College on March 4, 2017//Photo courtesy of Guilford College Basketball

The first-years on the Guilford men’s basketball team cast shadows over the other students on campus. Seeing the first-year basketball players around campus is like spotting Bigfoot. These players should not be confused with the hairy forest-dwelling behemoth, but hopefully they will be able to contribute to the success of the Quakers this season.

Guilford was able to take home the Old Dominion Athletic Conference championship after an impressive 24-6 record last season. The Quakers made it to the second round of of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division III Tournament. This upcoming season will be head coach Tom Palombo’s fifteenth season as team’s head coach. Palombo’s career has been extremely successful. He earned 12 ODAC championships and 16 national playoff appearances while on staff. Palombo and the Quakers had back-to-back national semifinals appearances in 2009 and 2010.

All this success assists the Quakers in obtaining high quality recruits. 2016-2017 All-Region forward Carson Long commented on the level of contribution first-years would most likely have coming in. In his opinion, they will likely receive less playing time as they adjust to the new level of speed and competition.

“They won’t play a ton of minutes,” said Long. “The minutes they do play will be very crucial though.”

Last season, of the 10 first-years on the team, only six played, averaging about 11 minutes per game. Although one of the positives about this first-year class is size, Long says the new players can contribute in the backcourt.

“We have more big guys than guards so the guards could fill some holes,” said Long. “I am really excited (though). We have some big guys and some shooters.”

In contemporary basketball, it is really important to have shooters with range and mobile rim protectors, ensuring that Guilford will be able to compete with top offenses and defenses.

Forward Luke Cartwright is one of the big first-years that could make an impact. Cartwright has an impressive presence standing at 6’8” and weighing in at 255 pounds. He is one of nine first-years, which is a relatively large recruiting class for Guilford.

“The (first-years) are definitely fitting right in with Guilford College culture,” said Cartwright.

It is very important for first-years to buy in early to a coach’s system to ensure a successful season. It seems as if the culture is already rubbing off on Cartwright.

The (first-year) class will fill in a few small missing spots that will help Guilford college win a conference championship and make a run in the (National Collegiate Athletic Association) Tournament,”said Cartwright.

The Quakers will open their season at crosstown rival Greensboro College on Wednesday, Nov. 15. They will host the Guilford College Classic two days later, playing their first game of the tournament against Concordia University (Texas). The Tornados ranked sixth in the NCAA South regional last season.