Basketball team optimistic about upcoming season

Last season, the A&T men’s basketball team finished 20-17. The team won the MEAC conference championship and appeared in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1995.

 This summer, the Aggies traveled to the Dominican Republic where they won two of the three games they played. “The Dominican Republic’s culture was great. We lacked focus in the beginning but we produced in our last games and got it done,” said Lamont Middleton a senior guard from the Bronx, N.Y.

Middleton was last season’s leading scorer (12.4 ppg).

The team aspires to have  more success in 2014. Since August, the Aggies have been working to sharpen defensive and offensive execution.

The Aggies were 9-3 at home last year. The team does not plan on losing in Corbett Sports Center this year.

They also hope to finish higher in the conference standings.

 “I see gradual improvement, but it is very slow. Rome was not built in a day,” said head coach Cy Alexander. “The good thing is that we have won a championship, so our players understand the hard work they have to do to continue to be champions.”

Senior guard Jeremy Underwood from Washington, D.C. says that the team has put in tremendous work for the upcoming season.

He believes the key to a successful season is to play hard, play better and play together. “We have been in the gym getting a lot of shots and conditioning. We are bigger, more athletic, and younger,” said Underwood. He plans to help lead the team to another MEAC championship.

Coach Alexander looks to Jeremy as the leader and an extension of himself on the court.

Bruce Beckford, a 6’7 forward from Silver Spring, Md. says only teamwork and hard work will give them success this year.

He also hopes that the team will win another MEAC championship. “Only hard work will get us another championship.  We must pull our weight individually in order to be better as a unit,” said Beckford.

Bruce is a sophomore this year and comes from one of the more prestigious high school basketball programs in the country at Montrose Christian Academy.

Although Alexander describes him as a “late bloomer,” he definitely fits the Aggie uniform well and provides a good physical prowess to the team.

When asked about personal goals, Beckford quickly responded saying he wants to be player of the year, average more than 20 points, and lead the team to another championship.

“Success is competing every night, being consistent and having no let downs,” he said. Bruce gave the freshman some advice saying that in order to be successful, they must follow the footsteps of the guys who have been there. “Freshman will perform. They have been in every game. They could compete anytime of the year.”

The Aggie men’s basketball team will play their first game on Nov. 4 in Corbett Sports Center against Fayetteville State University.  

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  • Shaina Bodrick, Contributor