BY PATRICK LYONS, COLUMNIST
One year ago, the men’s basketball team at Piedmont College was 0-7. Their final game was played on Dec. 17, 2012 at Berry College in Rome. The men were defeated for a last time that season with a score of 75-74, a one point loss that would cap off a catastrophic year. Riddled with injuries, academic ineligibility and drug and alcohol issues, the team hung up their jerseys for a final time. While many players either were dismissed or chose to no longer be a part of the team, a select few stayed on board. The few that were left chose to spend their now free time practicing and preparing for the 2013-2014 season. Much like the Team U.S.A. Men’s Basketball team of the Beijing Olympic Games, our men had a reputation to redeem.
Today, the men’s basketball team at Piedmont College is 6-6 overall and 1-1 in conference play. More importantly, the men are 3-1 at home this year. With the team fast approaching the midway point of the season, it is apparent that the Cave Arena here at Piedmont College is somewhat of a safe haven. With the “Cave Crazy” student section back in full swing, many would think that this could play a huge part of the success for the men. Head Coach Gregg Neeley and one of the team’s leading scorers Alton Honors have both expressed how much the support for the student body has meant to the team as a whole. With students leading cheers, halftime events and pep rallies, it’s a bit hard not to feel appreciated and supported.
Many might complain that a 6-6 record is nothing to brag about for a college basketball team. While I might be slightly biased because I’m part of the pride here at Piedmont, I couldn’t be more proud of our men. No one knows what it is like to have to rebound after a cancelled season. Our men have overcome the adversity, they’ve risen to the occasion, they’ve silenced the doubters and shown all of the USA South Conference what it means to be a Piedmont Lion. They have defended the Cave with pride and have kept their mouths shut, but carried a big stick. Sure we’re a young team, sure we have 11 freshmen and one academic senior. That leaves us with a lot to prove and one season to do it. I plan on Piemdont having many, many more winning seasons. But this is the one that we will all remember, the season that our men’s basketball team responded to disaster with resiliency and passion. The Cave Crazies don’t just want wins and school records; they want to be part of the team. “That’s our family out there,” said Dustin Fricks, a secondary education major. “We’re going to have their backs down to the last minute of every game. It’s just our job to make sure they know that.”
As the men approach the midpoint of their season, the Piedmont student body is seeing to it that their basketball team is going to finish strong and stick together as a unit. After all, isn’t that what family is for? Roar Pride.