The 2017-2018 men’s basketball season kicks off this Friday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. against University of Delaware in the Robins Center.
The University of Richmond coaching staff shared a few words on how they expect this season to look. Both head coach Chris Mooney and associate head coach Rob Jones are entering their 13th season on the Richmond men’s basketball staff.
There's one big question on the minds of Richmond spectators: how is the team is going to bounce back after losing two star seniors, TJ Cline and ShawnDre' Jones?
“It won’t be just one guy filling in for TJ and one guy filling in for ShawnDre,'" Mooney said. "It’ll be the kind of thing where we all pick up the slack."
Last year, the Spiders finished third in the A-10 conference. Jones said that focus was the key to making sure the Spiders come out bigger and better this year.
“Focus on one game at a time as much as possible. So often, it’s thinking about the next game and the next play,” Jones said. “It’s trying not to think about what’s gonna happen in March or when get into the A-10 play. We’re really trying to concentrate on what’s out in front of us.”
With a young team, Mooney is working hard with the new additions.
Jacob Guilliard, a freshman from Missouri, will see a lot of playing time this year and have an opportunity to make a big contribution to the team, Mooney said. Another freshman, Nathan Cayo from Montreal, brings his incredible talent, skills and athleticism to the team.
Solly Stansbury, who had to sit out last year because of NCAA transfer rules, will be bringing his athletic skills to the court this season. Solly stands at 6-foot-7 and spent time playing in France for a few years before coming to UR. All three players will be great assets to the team this year, Mooney said.
“When we play with tremendous energy and great concentration and playing together, generally speaking, you are going to give yourself the best chance to win the game,” Jones said.
Both coaches agree that this season’s schedule is challenging, featuring an exciting matchup, a home game against Georgetown University. The last time UR played Georgetown was in 1964, and the last matchup hosted by Richmond was in 1961.
“Georgetown is one of the most recognizable programs in the country,” Mooney said. “For it to have been so long since we’ve played them, it makes it that much more exciting to play them and have them come into the Robins Center.”
The chemistry between the players on the men’s basketball team has always been strong, the coaches said, but this group in particular has a really strong connection and practice well together.
“As the team comes together, we say ‘One Richmond.' We break every huddle, begin every practice and end every practice with it,” Jones said “At the end of the day, whether we're gonna win the game or whether we happen to lose the game we’re gonna do it together and we’re gonna learn from that experience together.”
Contact sports writer Kyla Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org