MARK TATUM Sports Editor
After a long offseason of anticipation, the Piedmont men’s and women’s basketball teams are eager to return to the court.
Last year, the Piedmont men’s team posted its best record since the 2009-2010 season with a 15-11 record and a quarterfinals finish in the USA South tournament. This year, the Lions are returning 13 players, including All-USA South performer Trae Gaines and have added four freshmen to the roster. Head Coach Greg Neeley believes that the team’s experience has helped with the flow of the preseason practices.
“Our energy and attention to detail have been good so far,” said Neeley. “With our guys understanding how important our preparation is before our challenging schedule, that’s where maturity helps us.”
Sophomore shooting guard Taylor Mills sees the team playing with a lot of confidence.
“We already know each other well, so that experience should pay off for us,” said Mills. “With the pieces we have, I think we have the potential to be the best in the conference as long as we keep practicing and playing hard.”
The Lady Lions are coming off a very successful 20-8 campaign from last year as they finished second place in the USA South tournament. Highlighted by Dakota Sullens and her 50 career starts, the team has a solid roster with 11 players returning along with additions of seven freshmen and two transfers to the team. Head coach Jamie Purdy, entering her 12th season leading the Lady Lions, is looking forward to the upcoming season and believes that the team will grow once they learn each other’s tendencies.
“I wish we had a little more time in our preseason due to the amount of new players we have,” Purdy said, adding “but I feel like we’ll continue to grow and develop throughout the season.”