New Beginnings

By Dei’Ja Martin

Change is inevitable, or so the people of FAMU are finding out. With the wave of coaches and staff leaving and the onslaught of new faces coming, it is apparent that time is limited. From the resignation of Athletic Director Milton Overton to Interim President Larry Robinson finally being named the official president of Florida A&M University. The year 2017 has been a year of significant change and for FAMU’s men’s basketball team, the change in coaching staff has been one they are happy to adjust to.

This season, there is a new face leading the team out of the locker room; Head Coach Robert McCullum, 62, from Oregon where he was previously the Assistant Director of Operations.

“We’re still learning a lot about each other. What players can and can’t do, what situations are best for each player, as in roles.” Said Head Coach McCullum in regards to the transition that both the players and coaches are experiencing. “Team chemistry is still a work in progress but it is improving.”

So far, it shows on the court.

The Rattlers gained their very first win of the season in the Al Lawson center during their home opener against Johnson Universitys, 63-36 before hitting the road for a few long days of away games.

Sophomore Guard Nasir Core commented on how he as dealt with so much change. “The transition has been different getting used to different personalities and principles with the new coaches.” Core was here during the reign of Coach Byron Samuels and has remained during the switch to Coach Robert McCullum.. “My coaching staff has made it a priority to help us transition as easy as possible.”

There are at least eight returners for the team, dedicated to see this season through and having faith that they can continue to improve from years past.

Marcus Barham, who was also a Preseason All MEAC selection, was excited about the win at home but chose to keep his focus and comments on the schedule ahead. “After this win, I am just trying to be more focused because every team from now on will not be like [Johnson University]t.” The meaning? Teams in different conferences, top level teams that the men will go head to head against to improve and learn from to prepare them for the MEAC Conference play.

The mix of new coaches, new players and veteran players has provided the men’s basketball team with a chance to show the world just what they are truly capable of.

“Fans can expect us to be better defensively, and hopefully a better rebounding team. They can expect us to finish higher than 11th in the MEAC, which is where we were picked to finish.” Said Head Coach McCullum.

In other words, that first home win is merely a taste of what is to come this season.

 

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