Photo provided by Tiffany Alexander.
As shoes are laced, balls are dribbled and shots are put up, the one-note symphony of club basketball practices is underway, and they are off to a good start.
Among those returning is Darryl Wanton, a senior and veteran of the team who led scoring for the team last year.
“What makes our group special is that everyone on the team is so competitive,” Wanton said.
At first glance, one may think this competitive instinct would incite hostility between the team members. If you watch them practice, it is clear this is not the case.
“Any loss makes us want to get in the gym and work harder. It is not a matter of competing against others, but rather competing against ourselves,” Wanton said.
Wanton said this way of thinking is crucial to the team’s success not only on the court but in life.
“I think a lot about life can be taken from the dynamics of basketball. Just like in life, you don’t need everyone doing the same thing well. You need everyone doing their own jobs well,” Wanton said.
With Wanton fulfilling his role as Point Guard and facilitator of the offense, the other guys on the team can focus on their specific niches. Ideally, this should allow for a very successful season.
Though last year’s record wasn’t a hard slam of success, it was nowhere near a blown layup either. The team knows what they need to improve on and how to achieve their goals.
In order to succeed in the upcoming season, Wanton is adamant that “we need to improve our ball movement and make adjustments to some of our defensive schemes.”
A large portion of the team’s obstacles last year came from a lack of passing. This year, it is clear that ball-hogging is not an issue.
On multiple occasions, team members swiftly swing the ball from one side to the other with selfless and startlingly fast passes, culminating in the ultimate swish of the net as the ball falls through.
“We’re looking to build on our team chemistry and work our way to the National Championship. It’s definitely something we can see happening in the foreseeable future,” Wanton said. “As of now, Valdosta State, University of Miami, Emory and Clemson are simply stepping stones in the greater picture of what we want to accomplish.”
Clearly, success is the only option for this group of highly motivated individuals.