The N.C. Central University men’s basketball team hosted Flight Night, an NCCU version of “Midnight Madness” on Nov. 1 in McDougall-McLendon Gym.
Over 300 students came to celebrate the beginning of the upcoming season and all the excitement that surrounds it.
The event was filled with music, impromptu performances, good laughs, and exciting basketball.
“Flight Night was awesome for me,” said transfer junior forward Michael Wolfe. “I wasn’t here last year so it was a chance for me to introduce myself to the fans and I liked the energy I got from them. Next time I think we’ll fill up the whole gym.”
After posting a 13-19 overall record and 7-9 conference record in the 2015-2016 season, returning Eagles players are looking to bounce back from last year’s blunders.
The departure of team leaders and role players, left the Eagles with a somewhat inexperienced lineup as few have logged in major minutes.
Red shirt junior guard, Marius McAllister, is coming off an off-season knee injury and hungry to finally get out there and play.
“Last season was very different. We had some bumpy roads trying to get all the pieces to gel and at times we looked great and times we didn’t. As crazy as it sounds, we’ve improved nearly everywhere in my opinion,” McAllister said.
For the 2016-2017 season, Coach Moton’s recruiting class of six looks to make an impact.
“We felt that we needed older and mature players in the program to compete with the new landscape in the MEAC,” Moton told NCCU Athletics.
When reminiscing on last season, red shirt guard Patrick Cole simply called it a “learning experience.”
Cole, who was recently named to the 2016 preseason All-MEAC second team, is going to be looked at as a catalyst this season according to McAllister.
“Our energy and effort is a lot better than last year. These guys and I understand how valuable the basketball program is to this community,” Cole said.
Despite the barriers that come with playing with new players, the team looks toward the future.
“Leadership is probably the biggest area we have improved upon,” McAllister said. “Pat Cole and Dajuan Graf are really pushing us this year and propelling us forward so we maximize our potential.”
Friday, Nov. 18 the Eagles look to showcase their new talents to their home fans as they take on Jackson State University at McDougald-McLendon Arena. The Eagles plan on winning the MEAC conference and shocking the world in the NCAA Tournament with their hard work over off-season.