Union College held a press conference on Tuesday afternoon for the Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams in Robsion Arena. Both of the teams were present along with their coaches to discuss their upcoming seasons.
The Union College Women’s Basketball Team is being coached by Tim Curry who is currently in his fifteenth season as head coach for the Women’s Team. Senior Forward on the Women’s Team, Lydia Nash, explained what the team has been doing to prepare for their upcoming season, “Right now we are working on preparing for our scrimmage, which is Oct. 22 so the focus right now is to get as much offense in as possible before then.” They have had a rigorous training schedule, “We’ve been practicing about six times a week. We
started the second week of school, lifting, having open gyms, and then we started having practice mid-September.”
Nash sees her team going far this year, “I’m hoping to end up back at the AAC Conference Championship this year. Last year we obviously didn’t see it all the way through, but I’m hoping this year to end up back at Nationals like we did in 2013.”
The Union College Women’s Basketball Team has five seniors to lead the team to success: Haley Perkins, Macy Clontz, Lydia Nash, Adreana Jefferson, and Taylor Atkinson. Perkins explains that the biggest advantage this year’s team has is size and strength, “We’ve got a lot more size this year with Peyton Hisel playing along with a couple of freshman who will definitely help us out a lot in that area.” They also have seven freshman this year who Perkins says, “All look very solid this year. They definitely help us out in aspect of our guards. We also have guards who were hurt in the past that have really stepped up and are looking promising.”
The Union College Men’s Basketball Team has been hard at work as well. Kevin Burton is presently beginning his fourth season as the head coach for the Men’s Team. This year’s team has six seniors that will be stepping up to take on vital leadership roles: Teven Jones, J.D. Tucker, T.J. Jones, Lonnie Smith, Nick Riley, and Bryan Jones.
Coach Burton provides a look into what his team looks like this year, “With graduating as many players as we did last year, we are in a transitional time with bringing in so many new players this year. We have pretty good blend of returning players and new players. Our expectations are still going to be really high, which is exciting.” The major success of the Men’s Basketball program over the last two years has generated high expectations, “The last two years’ teams have done a really good job of getting us nationally recognized as being one of the better basketball programs in the country with us winning the AAC Conference Championship the last two years. I know this year it isn’t going to be easy. Our goal is still going to be the same, however, the road is probably going to be tougher.”
The training schedule for the Men’s Team has begun to pick up the pace as their season quickly approaches. Burton explained that they do forty minutes of individual skill work in the mornings and then have practice in the afternoons. They usually practice five to six days a week. Burton shares, “So far our new guys have done a really good job of learning our system of play and learning the regime of just coming in prepared.”
Approximately two-thirds of the Union College Men’s Basketball Team are new players, with a blend of transfer students and freshman. They will have to learn to come together as a team and Head Coach, Kevin Burton, is confident they will be able to do so. While all of the new players are doing really well, Burton states that the transfer students will be the newcomers that will help out the team the most, “Senior, Teven Jones, has done really well early on. He began his career at The University of Virginia and has been a high level player his entire life. Senior, Bryan Jones, is from the state of Florida and senior, Nick Riley, From Kentucky Weslyean have both done really well early on as well. We are expecting good things out of these newcomers.”
Both the Union College Men’s and Women’s Basketball Teams are working very hard to get ready for their impending seasons. Both teams show a lot of promise and have the potential to go all the way. The Women’s Team will play in their first game on Oct. 22 in a scrimmage against St. Catherine in Robsion Arena at 7. Their first regular season game will be Nov. 10 at Alice Lloyd at 5. The Men’s Team will play in their first regular season match Oct. 27 against Boyce College in Robsion Arena at 8:30.