Bounce, bounce, bounce and swish!
The rhythmic dribble of several basketballs creates a low, drumming echo across the Ron Rosner Arena as the men’s basketball team moves through its drills.
While most students head home for the holidays, the men’s team is gearing up to face nationally ranked Virginia Wesleyan College and the College of William and Mary’s Division I team – and is hoping for hoops.
It’s a week to remember for both the university and its athletics teams. On Wednesday, Dec. 16, UMW will host Virginia Wesleyan College, ranked 15th in the nation, and dedicate its newly named Ron Rosner Arena in honor of the local community leader during a halftime ceremony.
“This kind of gift is extremely transformative,” said Director of Athletics Ken Tyler, speaking about Rosner’s half a million endowment to UMW’s Department of Athletics. “It’s going to benefit all of our sports and student athletes.”
The game will start at 7 p.m. in the Anderson Center’s Ron Rosner Arena with free admission for the entire community, a first since the university began selling tickets to games.
On Friday, Dec. 18, the men’s basketball team will travel to William and Mary to compete in a Division I game – think ESPN coverage and newspaper headlines. As a Division III team, UMW’s basketball team doesn’t frequent ESPN channels and it’s an opportunity the team can’t wait to experience.
So is our team ready for the tough competition?
“We’re young, but I like the way things are coming together,” said coach Marcus Kahn, who has led the team through five wins and two losses so far this season. “As a coach, I love to compete against the best, and we have an opportunity to do that.”
For the team, it’s all about the preparation.
“Our team is going 100% during practice,” said Eric Shaw, a sophomore starting his second year on the team. Describing the team as a ‘family outside of a family,’ Shaw added, “It’s our chance to get better and grow as a team.”
With tickets just $5 at the door, Eagles are encouraged to flock to Williamsburg in their blue and gray for the 7 p.m. game in the Kaplan Arena. Even Tyler, who graduated from and played basketball for William and Mary, will be wearing blue and gray for the game.
“I cheer for two schools, so people have asked me if I’ll be torn this Friday,” said Tyler. “I absolutely will not, Eagles all the way.”
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