By Cameron Krakowiak ’24
After a disappointing cancelation of the 2019-2020 season, the ‘Cats look forward to getting back on the hardwood. This winter, basketball will play, as the Davidson Men’s and Women’s teams prepare for an unprecedented season with the possibilities of no fans, unknown scheduling, and a virus all on the table.
The A10 hasn’t posted its schedule and has already moved back the season by two weeks from November 10th to November 25th for Women’s, while the men kickoff their season on November 31st at the Maui tournament. The NCAA is allowing teams to finally start official practices the week of October 12th.
“In terms of the season, all that we know is that our games will be starting November 25th […] and our conference games to start mid to late December, ” Women’s guard Katie Turner ‘21 said.
Davidson Director of Athletics Chris Clunie ‘06 provided greater clarity on the schedule. “Both of our teams, and really the A10, are just trying to preserve the most non-conference games,” he said. “Obviously losing the first 15 games of the season […], we’re trying to build the most competitive non-conference schedule as we can.”
Davidson has been dedicated in keeping its students and student-athletes safe. According to Clunie, Davidson is already ahead of schedule in terms of COVID-19 testing, twice a week, compared to the NCAA’s recommendation of testing once per week. Once the season starts the players will be tested three times a week.
Women’s head coach Gayle Fulks spoke about the practices and games, saying that she didn’t know much about the schedule. She added, “We’ve had some more time before our first competition date than ever before […] We’ve been able to teach some things more deliberately than we’ve had time to do in the past.”
When asked about approaches to creativity in practice, Coach Fulks said, “We’ve been trying to make each day of the week different with the content of what we’re doing and the purpose of what we’re doing. This has allowed the [players] to show up with a great mindset, with whatever they’re doing, they are really attacking it and trying to get better at it.”
Expecting the unexpected will be a running theme for the season. “There will be cancellations […] Teams are likely not going to be able to play a full schedule” Clunie confirmed.
Head Men’s basketball coach Bob McKillop stressed the importance of focusing on the factors under the team’s control. “I don’t worry about [cancellations]. When you worry about things, you take energy,” he said.“Why expend energy on things you have no control over? I have control over today and our next practice or workout.”
Coach McKillop, who believed that the Davidson Men were playing their best basketball right before last season’s cancellation, spoke about the composition of talent on this year’s team.
“They have come to understand every moment and cherish every opportunity,” he said, adding, “We were never given a chance to embrace [as a team] because of the sudden end. It has left us with an attitude, an energy […] that had our team very determined. I don’t look at the negative side of it, but more the positive side of it.”
The players, coaches, administration, and fans are all excited to tip off the season. “I’m excited the NCAA, Davidson, and the A10 have come together to make a season possible for us,” Turner said. “For me, a huge part of my four years here and basketball is playing my senior season and ending with a bang! We have each other’s backs during a really tough time and we can’t wait.”