The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

N.C. A&T Men’s Basketball Season Recap

First year under coach Monté Ross
Cameron Smith

Following the end of the 2023-24 N.C. A&T Men’s Basketball season ended in the first round of the Coastal Athletic Association (CAA) tournament with a 79-62 loss to William & Mary. Their season concluded with a 7-25 record and many fans, alumni, and students have questions regarding the team’s future. Head coach Monté Ross answered some of those tough questions about his first season coaching the A&T program. Ross isn’t new to the college coaching scene, starting in 1993, also being a former player for Winston-Salem State under the legendary coach Clarence “Big House” Gaines.                                                                                

This year the roster spots were mostly filled by recruits and transfers, most notably Coffeyville Community College transfer guard Landon Glasper, who ranked in the nation’s top 20 scorers throughout the season. Nonetheless, the process was rushed due to Ross stepping in as the head coach in April of 2023. This left only a few months to prepare for a full roster announcement and no opportunity to evaluate talent in the game.

“We had ten scholarships available when we got the job, so just so we could fill the team, we had to go and try to sign players,” Ross said. “Mind you, we couldn’t watch it live. We had to do it all on highlight tapes and videos. That’s how we had to get those guys, so it was almost like a rushed thing.”                                                                                                         

Due to the team being put together hastily, the chemistry and overall performance were lacking early on in the season. Progress slowly began showing as the team picked up its first win in the Chris Paul “CP3 HBCU” challenge against Texas Southern University, and even started the first month of the new year by going 5-4. Glasper spoke about the efforts that went into this season to push past hardships.

“First thing I can take from the season is grind. Coach uses that word a lot, and its true,” said Glasper. “It’s just a grind and you have to grind everyday in the league and at the D-1 level just taking it game by game.”

However, a big challenge that the team would struggle to push past would come after Glasper sustained a knee injury in a game against Delaware, which had been an anticipated matchup since Ross coached there for ten years before he arrived at A&T. Glasper had led A&T to a 4-2 start in conference play. 

“We were working through injuries and illnesses all year long. With us being in our first year, we didn’t have the depth that we needed to possibly overcome losing our leading scorer,” he said. That was our biggest challenge this year because we could have been so much better if we were healthy.”

Despite these difficulties, Ross prioritized establishing a connection with his players and giving them the best treatment he could as a coach. This is a practice that he has carried over from all of his previous years as a coach and keeps consistent at A&T. 

“The biggest thing has been wherever I go I make sure I treat our student-athletes fairly. I’m honest, authentic, and vulnerable with them and in front of them because I want them to be able to do the same in front of me,” he said. “It’s very important for me and my staff that we’re there for our players at every turn. They know that when we’re hard on them, it’s never personal and it’s only about basketball and making them a better person on and off the court.”

 Moving into the off-season players and coaching staff are looking to not only improve on the court but elevate the program to a new level holistically. 

“I want to say thank you. I appreciate all the support, and they’re really good basketball-knowledgeable fans. They understand that if you want to build something sustainable it’s going to take some time, and I think they saw the progress,” he said. “Those are things that we can build on and we will. That’s what’s going to put us on the road to be successful in this conference and I’m really excited about it.”

Coach Ross is already on the move and is in the process of recruiting players to add to the roster. Knowing that this expansion process is already in full swing and following Landon Glasper’s CAA all-conference team selection, we may see the first steps of a more well-rounded and tournament-ready team ready to take on the new season.

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