The Southwestern Athletic Conference hosted the annual Cricket Wireless SWAC Men and Women’s Basketball Media Day on November 2 and 3rd. Because of COVID-19, it was the first time in history that it was held virtually via YouTube.
Broadcast analyst James Verrett talked to the head coach of the men’s team, Sean Woods. With COVID enforcing the new norm, Coach had to communicate with his players differently. They didn’t have a summer and a lot of the athletes couldn’t work out. Not only are they trying to be safe from getting COVID, but they are trying to be safe from injuries until the season starts. Although Coach Woods isn’t able to go full blast with his team, he is trying to get their skill back up. “We’re counting on the weight room to get their body hard enough to go through the rigorous practices that we have planned.”
Coach is making sure to stay on the new transfers and train them harder where they came from. Luckily he doesn’t have too many this semester and the older players know what to expect from the last season of basketball. “It took us a while to learn how to win. We were playing hard enough and winning most of the games at half but we didn’t know how to close them because we had very inexperienced guys,” said Woods.
With his son currently playing for the team, Woods noted that he is not worried about where his team is ranked or dethroning PVAMU. “I think that I got the best team in the league. I’m feeling confident about what I got and what is in my locker room.” Coach is just hoping to get through the year and give his guys a chance to finish what they couldnt last Spring. Student athlete, Ashante Rivers, a redshirt senior, spoke on how tragic it was for the men’s team not to finish what they were so close to accomplishing. “I think that situation gives us who are returning more hunger.”
Sports reporter James Verrett also caught up with the head coach of SU’s Women’s basketball team, Carlos Funchess. Through dealing with COVID, the coach’s main goal has been to keep his girls in form. “We’ve learned a lot and we’re just trying to stay prepared for anything at any time.” His assistant coaches are helping him to make sure the Lady Jaguars stay safe and follow protocols as far as wearing masks and social distancing. Coach Funchess’ players are tested once a week. “So far we have not had any positive tests.” Although losing some players last season, he has gained some newcomers to replace them. “I think we did a great job filling in the pieces that we lost last year.”
Student athlete Taneara Moore talked about how scary it’s been with testing a lot for COVID and most classes being moved to remotely online. During her time off she was able to stay in shape through conditioning like running outside since the gym was closed. “While I was in BR, I would run over the hump 10 times and at home I would run until I was dog tired.” The athlete believes that if the team works together and does their best, they can call themselves champions. Hopefully, SU’s men and women’s basketball teams can both be winners and gain victory this upcoming season.