Men’s basketball gears up for new season


Andrew Walker

Guilford College first-year guard Jordan Wallis drives against High Point University senior guard Dexter Gooding High Point won the exhibition 81-45.//Photo By: Andrew Walker/The Guilfordian

The Guilford College men’s basketball team is looking to start this season off on the right foot by putting team chemistry first. Last season the Quakers went 15-12 overall and 10-6 in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference. They made it to the second round of the ODAC tournament, but suffered an 81-63 loss to Washington and Lee University.

In the 2016-17 season, Guilford’s men’s basketball won the ODAC Championship and made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. They expected to perform at the same level last season but did not focus on the path that would lead them to post-season play, according to senior forward Carson Long.

“A lot of guys who had success the prior year when we won the conference championship did not have very much success last year and they struggled,” said head coach Tom Palombo. “That happens, you might have a bad game, a bad series of games, you might have a bad year. Sometimes you just can’t get out of it and unfortunately, we were not able to get a lot of guys out of it. We were very inconsistent, we had talent, but the guys just struggled.”

This year the Quakers are putting last season behind them and focusing on team chemistry to make sure the talent they have can work as a unit.

“You have to observe what’s going on to know the pulse of your team,” said Palombo. “I think that’s one of the tough things about coaching, you have to get a feel for those things. You got to have a good locker room, you got to have good team chemistry and you have to have everyone moving in the same direction, because it does not matter how talented you are.”

The Quakers are only 14 practices into the season and already there are signs of improvement.

“Just from where we are right now our chemistry is a lot better,” said Long.  “We have a better friendship than last year. We came off winning the ODAC championship the year before, so we thought we were good stuff.”

Team chemistry is not the only thing that will hopefully help the team improve from last year. The team will have more depth than they did last year, returning at least four starters.

“Last year we did not have a tremendous amount of depth,” said Palombo. “I think we will have that this year, both in the back court and in the front court. We still have guys competing things out, we’ve only had 14 practices. We are still trying to sort through some things, but I think we will have the depth, whereas maybe last year we maybe didn’t due to injured and other things, we kind of ran out of depth.”

They also hope to add more talent from the incoming first-years.

“The impact of the (first-years) is very big this year,” said senior forward Marcus Curry. “We have a lot of talented (first-year) on our team and learning a lot from our older guys on the team will only make them better.”

The first-years have to find a way to contribute to the team as Curry and Long led the Quakers last season. Curry earned First-Team All-ODAC honors, averaging a team-high 16.2 points per game which also stood fourth in the ODAC. Long earned Second-Team All-ODAC honors, leading the team with 7.4 rebounds per game which stood ninth in the league and averaged 14.0 points per game.

It is still early in the season and the coaches are still figuring out logistics. The Quakers have two exhibitions against NCAA Division I High Point University and The University of Iowa to help put the best players in the right places. The team is moving forward with working on their team chemistry and depth to be successful this season.

“We have aspirations of winning conference championships and competing on the national level,” said Palombo.

The Quakers open their home schedule Nov. 13 against Greensboro College at 7:30 p.m.