The Virginia Wesleyan men’s basketball team seeks redemption for their early exit in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference (ODAC) quarterfinals last year, and they have all the pieces they need to do it. In the ODAC preseason poll, the team tied for second with Randolph-Macon and only fell behind the first-place Guilford by five points.
“Tim Fisher is definitely going to be a really big piece for us; All-Conference guy. Lamont, when he comes back, also another All-Conference guy. They’ll both be very very important for us for this year,” sophomore Evan Tebay said.
Fisher enters his junior season and will again protect the paint as the Marlins main big man. Lamont Steward, on the other hand, faces a little adversity as he tore his ACL in the postseason of last season around springtime. His return to play around December will be crucial as he was an All-ODAC First Team member last season and the team’s leading scorer with 15 points a game.
In Fisher’s sophomore season, he earned a spot on the ODAC All-Conference Third Team while averaging 13.2 points per game and 8.5 rebounds a game. His consistent ability to score around the basket complements his jump shot as he shot 49.4% percent from the field. When Fisher gets the ball, there is statistically a 50% chance that he will score the basketball.
Despite his offensive success, Fisher said that the real strength of the team this year will be their depth. A lot of players have the ability to score, and especially from three.
The Marlins return three-point sharpshooter Corey Pelham. Pelham is also a junior this season and showcased his hot hand in his freshman and sophomore seasons. In his career at Virginia Wesleyan, he has shot 37.7% from three. Pelham will not be alone behind the three point line this year as sophomore Jordan White should contribute as well. He saw limited time as a freshman because of the amount of upperclassmen guards, but he was still able to sink 17 threes and shoot 30.9% from three in the process. Tyree Golston, a dynamic scorer, also has a consistent three-point shot; he finished last season with a 38.2 three-point percentage.
In addition to returners, the team landed a key transfer from Emory and Henry. Daniel Spencer will play only one year at Virginia Wesleyan, but even for just one year he will make a major impact. Spencer snagged a spot on the All-ODAC First Team last season, as well as averaging 18.3 points per game. Spencer can play a guard or a post, which opens a lot of opportunities for scoring as it allows head coach Dave Macedo to get more shooters on the floor if Spencer shifts to a post position.
The largest loss to their roster that the Marlins suffered from last season was graduating senior Keijon Honore. Honore averaged 32.3 minutes per game and 9.5 points per game. His leadership abilities and passing ability will be hard to replace, but Tebay and freshman Miles Wallace will be able to handle it between the two of them.
“Kei was definitely a really big piece for us last year, very vocal leader. People followed him last year so, that voice is gone, and I’ve been trying to fill that void… so just making my voice known and having the guys follow me has been a big thing for me,” Tebay said.
With an arsenal of scorers returning, the Marlin team will be a force in the ODAC. The team plays their first game on Nov. 9 versus Pfeiffer.