Mens Basketball preview

Men’s basketball has arrived and so have the fans. At the end of October, Longwood announced the Willett Hall attendance policies for 2021-2022. This allows fans back into the arena, which was not allowed last year due to COVID-19 mitigation. 

The Lancers had a historical last season with the best Big South record in school history. They earned themselves the No. 5 seed in the Big South Championship tournament and made it to the semifinals. Now for this season, there is plenty of high expectations. 

Since Coach Aldrich and his staff joined the Lancers, there has been several of program firsts. Most notably, two Division I postseason tournament invitations (2018-19 and 2020-21), record number of Big South wins (nine in 2019-20 and then ten in 2020-21), and record Big South finishes (fourth place in 2019-20). 

Longwood has a core of returning starters including DeShawn Wade, Zac Watson, Jesper Granlund, and Justin Hill. So far this season, the four players are averaging a combined 25.7 points per game. In addition, the Lancers have received five transfer players. With a total of eight new players which accounts for half of the roster, the team will need to meet the challenge of integrating together.

“The blending of the old and new is going to be really important for us, but we have a lot of different pieces and we’re going to have the ability to be really dynamic offensively,” said Aldrich. “The biggest thing is embracing how we play and who we want to be.”

So far into the season, Longwood has been off to a strong start. With a current record of 2-1, Longwood offense has put on a show. In the last two games combined, Longwood has outscored opponents 173-93.

The Lancers have a busy upcoming weekend. For the first time in the program’s Division I era, Longwood will be hosting a multi-team event in Willett Hall. The Lancers will be playing games on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The event has been dubbed the “Jerome Kersey Classic” in tribute of the most prominent basketball alumni. After graduating from Longwood, Kersey played in the NBA from 1984-2001. 

Two special guests are set to be at Longwood for the event. Acclaimed sports writer John Feinstein will be serving as a guest analyst on ESPN+ along with Longwood broadcaster Sam Hovan. Also in attendance, six-time winning National Sports Media Association’s Oregon Sportswriter of the Year, Kerry Eggers. Recently he published a biography of Kersey titled “Jerome Kersey: Overcoming The Odds.” It’s been reported that he will also be available for book signings.

The team is currently 4-1 and looks to continue their winning streak this Friday when they travel to Old Dominion. 

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