Thomas Mills | Marlin Chronicle
By Ben Fletcher
The Virginia Wesleyan Men’s basketball team finished its 2013-14 season with a 23-7 record, an Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) championship and it’s tenth straight appearance in the NCAA tournament, which also featured a run to the Sweet 16.
The 2014-15 outlook for the Marlins is bright and others around the country and conference have taken notice. VWC was voted ninth nationally by Sporting News and ninteenth by d3hoops.com as well as being voted second in the ODAC preseason coaches’ poll. While the rankings are flattering for the program, head coach Dave Macedo and his players don’t value them too highly.
“Coach hasn’t discussed it, our team hasn’t discussed it, and it’s something that we don’t put much hype in,” sophomore Khory Moore said.
Moore, the reigning conference Rookie of the Year, averaged 11.7 points in 17.8 minutes played per game last season and is expected to be a key contributor again. “We have challenged him to be a anchor of this team, we think he has all the intangibles to do so and we have confidence in him to step up for us,” Macedo said.
Moore’s job won’t be easy as VWC loses a tremendously successful senior class, led by ODAC player of the year award winner DJ Woodmore, Aaron Clark, Colby Heard, and Trent Batson.
“It seems like it has been something of a trend recently, the last four years we have lost pretty big senior classes, now we expect our new senior class to step up and be the best leaders they can be and for everyone else to grow into bigger or new roles,” Macedo said.
Coach Macedo has had no problem consistently putting winning teams on the court in the past. “I think the standard is that you have to be pretty good to play here, but year in and year out I think the team chemistry and the work ethic is what sets our team a part,” Macedo said.
Some of the new faces expected to contribute immediately include a couple of transfers. “At the point guard position Tim Jones is going to be somebody that has a great chance to make an impact on our program right away and Nick Doyle has also come in and displayed a great work ethic and has really bought into our team,” Macedo said.
The newcomers will join the 11 returning players from last year’s group. However, the Marlins will feature 15 underclassmen, so senior leadership will have to make up for the lack of experience.
“I want to strive to be the best leader I can be, it’s one of my most important responsibilities as a senior and I’m looking forward to accepting the challenge,” senior Cam Owens said.
Senior leadership will be essential to the Marlin’s success this year but they will not be the only ones driving the bus.
“Even though I’m only a sophomore I’d like to be an extension of the captains. I want to make sure I lead my team on and off the court and one way I can do that is by making sure that we are playing together as one unit,” Moore said.
Virginia Wesleyan opens the season on Saturday, Nov. 15, against the College of New Jersey at 7 p.m. The game will be the first one of the annual Marlin Tip-Off tournament, which also features Delaware Valley College and the Apprentice School.