Men’s basketball returns from pause

The Virginia Wesleyan University men’s basketball team started their 2020-2021 season back in December of 2020 to end the hiatus of Virginia Wesleyan sports ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The men’s basketball team has started their season off on a rocky start when they picked up three losses to start the season. For their first time back on the court, the Marlins played the Monarchs of Old Dominion University to which the Marlins fell 77-57. The men’s basketball team went on to play the Battling Bishops of NC Wesleyan 75-62, and the Sea Gulls of Salisbury 67-58. The Marlins claimed their first victory of the 2020-2021 season when the team defeated the Wildcats of Randolph College for the first home game of the season. Now, the Marlins are currently sitting 1-3 for the season overall and 1-0 in the ODAC conference.  

On Jan 20, the Marlins men’s basketball team was ranked second at the conclusion of the 2020-2021 season according to the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) preseason coaches polls. With this in mind, the Marlins are anticipated to have a great season, especially with the roster having a wide range of players from different classes including five seniors, four juniors, five sophomores, and six freshmen. With this diverse team of players, they are looking better than ever and are ready to face whatever challenges that may come their way. 

Junior Evan Tebay, a guard for the VWU men’s basketball team, had some comments on how he thinks the season is going so far. “So far the season has been okay. I think it’s been pretty solid,” Evan Tebay said. Though the Marlins are still focused on their goals and expectations for this season, “the expectations are always to just play our brand with everything that consists of, always play our brand and have our own way on the court,” and, “always at the end of the year to bring home a championship for the school and for Coach Macedo,” said Tebay. 

Last year, the Marlins were left out of  March Madness as they did not get selected for the tournament. With this unfortunate news, the Marlins 2019-2020 season ended, but this only fueled the team’s motivation for the next season. Unfortunately, the NCAA March Madness has been canceled this year, but Tebay said, “we’re definitely out for revenge this year, it was a hard thing to swallow last year,” and “we just have to come out this year and show everybody why we should have been in it last year.” 

This season for the Marlins is different from past years due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that has made it tough for many sports. A major consequence of the pandemic is no fan attendance at games. For the season, the Marlins will have no fans in stands at their home games. Fans are not permitted to attend any of the home games per a conference policy that was passed to discourage the spread of the coronavirus. This means the energy will be different for the players and fans this season, “You know, playing in the fish tank is a big deal sometimes, and at big games, it can really help us,” Tebay said. “Whether it’s a big dunk or big three: the fans really get us going and give us a boost when the can,” and, “It definitely plays a part, but at the end of the day we’re basketball players we are going to go out and play whether there are 1000 people watching us or whether there is one person watching,” Tebay said. 

With the new rules and regulations of the return college sports, the men’s basketball team continues to have their head on strong as they chase to win an ODAC championship trophy. “The goal is to bring back an ODAC championship at the end of the year,” Tebay said. “We are looking to steal a championship with corona and COVID-19 going on.” 

At the moment, the Virginia Wesleyan University men’s basketball team was put on a temporary pause due to Virginia Wesleyan University and ODAC pandemic protocols. The Marlins were scheduled to play a home game against the Hornets of Shenandoah University on Jan. 28, but the game was canceled. For the moment, there have been no new announcements or information about the Marlins’ return to the court to continue their season. Even with the pandemic’s challenges, though, the Marlins are still looking forward to a great season.

Shirell Washington