It’s the day we all have been waiting for —the basketball season begins in earnest tonight as Gary and Brenda will introduce their teams before a packed Comcast Center. Thursday was media day and Coach Williams reflected on the loss of 3 members of the program “This past season, we lost three people who were really connected with the team. The obvious one is Dave Neal, but we also lost Jack Heise and Robert Novak, who were two really important components to our team in terms of how they felt about things and where they stood with the basketball team. They were really great people. Dave Neal got a scholarship with Trinity College in Ireland. He will get his master’s degree in business in 16 months and have the opportunity to play in Australia after that for a professional team after playing for Trinity College this year.
Gary commented further on the makeup of the team:
Greivis Vasquez went through the draft situation this summer and got a pretty good feel of things. I think he could have been drafted late-first, but there were no guarantees. I think he made a tremendous move given the amount of guards that were in the draft this past year. I think he comes back as one of the best guards in the country and we’re looking forward to his leadership and his play this year.
Eric Hayes had a great stretch run at the end of the season. Eric’s had turf toe in the preseason, but he’s about back to where he can go and he’s going to give it a shot on Saturday. We’re glad to see that.
Landon Milbourne certainly did everything he could for the team last year, he was a tremendous force for us really, especially in the ACC season.
Sean Mosley, with his character, toughness and ability to compete, certainly makes you a better basketball team, as he did last year as a freshman. Those guys become very important to us.
You get a guy like Dino Gregory who didn’t play a whole lot his freshman year and hung in and did everything right, worked really hard. He’s a much stronger, bigger player now. At the end of the season last year, I think the last three weeks of the season, he was as good as any inside player, defensively and rebound-wise in the ACC.
I kind of like having those guys coming back. The other thing is I like being with them, when practice starts that means, you’re going to be around those guys quite a bit. When you have people like that, like the people I just mentioned, it makes this job a much better job. I’m very enthusiastic about being in that situation with those guys.
Two new players that we have: James Padgett is about 6-foot-8, from Lincoln High School in New York, very quick for a guy that size. If you want to compare him to anyone, he reminds me a little bit of James Gist when he came here as a freshman. He played a very high level of high school basketball and competes. He wants to play and I really like that with freshmen that come in.
Jordan Williams at 6-10 or so, is a very tough, inside physical player. He’s a physical presence already on our team and is very strong with good hands. I think one of the keys to coaching is to have the ability to score inside and outside, to have the ability to throw the ball inside to get to the foul line. If you don’t have that, to be able to kick it out, and Jordan is a good enough passer to do that and big enough to score inside.
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